While previously known as a serious leading man and versatile actor, William West Anderson (September 19, 1928 June 9, 2017), better known as Adam West, got his real fame and reputation as the 1960s Batman. Following that, he was pigeon-holed into similar roles or parodies of such, which he proceeded to embrace completely, and led to him naming a trope.
His roles prior to that include being the main star of a children's show called El Kini Popo's Show, in the film The Young Philadelphians, and appearing in multiple Westerns, including portraying Doc Holliday in Lawman. He also guested in Perry Mason and was in the last ever The Three Stooges film, the Western comedy The Outlaws IS Coming!.
And then the role that changed everything...nana nana nana nana nana nana nana, Batman!
Some of his roles since included a washed-up former superhero actor in Batman: The Animated Series "Beware The Gray Ghost", a washed-up superhero who was just a deluded actor in Kim Possible, another deluded actor (this time thinking he's qualified to be a detective) in the pilot of Lookwell, a super powered version of Ernest Hemingway in Histeria!, a super-powered pizza boy in Meet the Robinsons, the mayor of Gotham City in The Batman...notice a pattern here?
When not playing or voicing characters related to superheroes, washed-up actors, Batman, or a combo thereof, West often just portrayed a over-the-top version of himself. Examples of this include appearing on The Simpsons, Johnny Bravo, and 30 Rock. A version of him, voiced by him, was the Mayor of Quahog in Family Guy.
He occasionally took other roles. He was a lawyer in The Boondocks, as well as playing one in the sitcom George Lopez. He also was a "Dr. Wayne" in the 1990s Zorro series, who's astounded at the idea of riding out from a cave under a mansion to fight crime. At one point, he was even offered the role of James Bond (for Diamonds Are Forever), but he turned that down, stating that Bond should be played by an Englishman (even though he had already been played by a Scotsman and an Australian).
In 1994 he published his autobiography, Back to the Batcave, and in 2012 he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which was the subject of the biographical documentary Starring Adam West.
Tropes associated with Adam West's roles:
- Adam Westing: Obvious Trope Namer. His career post-Batman mostly depended on this.
- Badass Baritone: Despite being the source of much parody, his voice was something to behold.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Much of his Self-Parody had his characters being rather eccentric superheroes or versions of himself. Examples included Catman and Mayor West.
- Large Ham: One of his most recognizable traits was overacting as much as possible.
- Method Acting: West himself didn't use this technique, but was on the receiving end of it from Julie Newmar when filming with her. In order to get the sexual tension between Batman and Catwoman across on screen, Newmar used to flirt outrageously with West at every opportunity without following through, so both West and Batman wanted someone almost unbearably but couldn't have them.
- Unusual Euphemism: According to his autobiography, while filming the Batman television series Julie Newmar in her Catwoman costume caused "curious stirrings in my utility belt".