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It is interesting to note how many actors are best known for their Batman characters

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:52 am
by dell
The thread titled "I think Dozier rolled the dice with Gorshin" got me thinking about how prominent Batman was in the careers of the people who appeared on the show. I only looked at main characters and the big four villains. In the biographies on IMDB the following actors are noted as having their most (or one of the most) memorable role on Batman:

Adam West
Burt Ward
Alan Napier
Neil Hamilton
Stafford Repp
Madge Blake
Yvonne Craig
Cesar Romero
Julie Newmar
Frank Gorshin
Lee Meriwether

The only one missing from this list is Burgess Meredith. His most memorable role is from the Rocky movies with Batman barely being mentioned.

So Batman was very important, or at least very memorable role, for many of these actors who all had long careers. Obviously, Adam West, Burt Ward, Alan Napier, Neil Hamilton and Stafford Repp were in every episode so they are most easily remembered with these roles. Madge Blake is listed as being in 96 of the 120 episodes. And of course, Yvonne was only in the 26 episodes of season 3. But the villains are the most interesting to me as they were each in just a handful of the episodes over the three seasons plus the movie, but it was still one of the most memorable roles they ever had.

Other interesting things mentioned on IMDB:
Madge Blake - Worked on the detonator for the atomic bomb in World War II

Alan Napier - Was a cousin of the former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain

Re: It is interesting to note how many actors are best known for their Batman characters

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:00 am
by clavierankh
I would disagree that Cesar Romero is best known for Batman. He had a long career before and after Batman.

If these people are best known for Batman it's because we fans of the series know them best for Batman.

Re: It is interesting to note how many actors are best known for their Batman characters

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:29 pm
by dell
I was going by what IMDB said in the bio. I realize these can be very biased depending on who wrote them. And for Cesar it did say for younger people he was better known as the Joker than for anything else. Obviously, other people knew him for other roles, but the Joker was still his most memorable role for a lot of people.

Re: It is interesting to note how many actors are best known for their Batman characters

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:34 pm
by clavierankh
True Dell. As a collector of classic TV DVDs it's amazing to see people you remember from youth in a specific part playing all kinds of rolls.

Re: It is interesting to note how many actors are best known for their Batman characters

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:11 am
by epaddon
Meredith before "Batman" was a big name for his work as a stage director, and also for well-regarded film roles in "Of Mice And Men" and "The Story Of G.I. Joe" where he played war correspondent Ernie Pyle.

Julie Newmar is a case of someone who had some fame before "Batman" on the Broadway stage as a larger-than-life presence but Catwoman ultimately eclipsed her earlier fame that she'd earned.

I wouldn't agree that Lee Meriwether is necessarily best known as the movie CW. More people my age I think first knew her from her eight years on "Barnaby Jones" and also being an all-around personality on game show appearances in the 70s (she frequently did shows like "Match Game") and then only later did I discover she'd had her one turn as CW.

Re: It is interesting to note how many actors are best known for their Batman characters

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:53 am
by dell
Again, I refer back to IMDB and what THEY list as the most notable roles. They list Catwoman as one of Lee's most memorable roles. They also list her Star Trek, Time Tunnel and Land of the Giants appearances under a generic fantasy/sci-fi arc that they say she is most remembered for. Oddly, there is no mention of her Barnaby Jones role in her IMDB bio. The Barnaby Jones omission shows that these bios can be biased as how can you ignore eight years of her career?

Re: It is interesting to note how many actors are best known for their Batman characters

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 12:57 pm
by epaddon
That shows why IMDB can't always be relied on IMO. IMDB is also notorious for having false information about the careers of performers that take forever to get corrected. In this case, that sounds like it was put together by someone who only watches sci-fi TV and "cult" shows and who doesn't realize how popular a show like "Barnaby Jones" was and how being a regular on that show allowed Lee to have a broader visibility on TV at the time.

Re: It is interesting to note how many actors are best known for their Batman characters

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 3:50 pm
by clavierankh
I was looking at Raymond Burr and it said he was known for Rear Wi dow Ironside and Godzilla. Nothing about Perry Mason
I wonder what algorithm they use.

Re: It is interesting to note how many actors are best known for their Batman characters

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:40 pm
by Keith Mayo
clavierankh wrote:
Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:00 am
I would disagree that Cesar Romero is best known for Batman. He had a long career before and after Batman.

If these people are best known for Batman it's because we fans of the series know them best for Batman.
Pick 100 random people of varying ages and ask them if they know who Ceasar Romero was. Of the handful who do, ask them where they know him from. If even one of them names one of his pre Batman films I'd be more than surprised. "Best known for" means exactly that.

Re: It is interesting to note how many actors are best known for their Batman characters

Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:55 am
by Dr. Shimel
Any fan of The Twilight Zone already knew Burgess very well, considering he was a key part of some classic episodes.

Re: It is interesting to note how many actors are best known for their Batman characters

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:35 am
by Progress Pigment
In I suppose his last interview, comic Jack Carter, Hot Rod Harry in the first Shame episodes, said he continued to get more mail about Batman than anything else he ever did.

Image

http://classicshowbiz.blogspot.com/2016 ... -nine.html

Re: It is interesting to note how many actors are best known for their Batman characters

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:08 am
by High C
Fascinating topic. As the OP and others have stated, these sorts of lists will have biases. That's pretty much true of anything in where there are no hard and fast statistics to serve as a guide.

I mean, I'm a perfect example. I realize from an objective viewpoint that Alexis on Dynasty is Joan Collins' signature role. But even with her now being 85, anytime I see a current photo of her, I see The Siren. That's my bias and it always will be.

As for the regular cast and the 'Big 4' villains, I'd say the only one I don't immediately associate singularly with Batman is Burgess Meredith. Twilight Zone, as one poster mentioned, and the Rocky trilogy also come to mind. Newmar had other roles I think about, but Catwoman is just too indelible. And as for Romero, I know about his 'Latin Lover' movies, but I'm too young for those and I've never really sought them out. So to me, he's forever Joker.

Re: It is interesting to note how many actors are best known for their Batman characters

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:57 am
by Scott Sebring
Not to be morbid but if you want to see what somebody was "best known for" at the time of their death, just check out their obituary at the time of their passing. History can be a bit revisionist due to changing pop culture trends and relative to ones personal exposure. Was Adam West mainly known for Batman? Of course. But there is an entire generation that knows him as Mayor West from Family Guy and have no idea that he was ever Batman. Kind of what happened to me when I was exposed to Vincent Price, Cesar and Burgess before I got to see them in other stuff prior and after Batman.

Re: It is interesting to note how many actors are best known for their Batman characters

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:03 am
by High C
Scott Sebring wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:57 am
Not to be morbid but if you want to see what somebody was "best known for" at the time of their death, just check out their obituary at the time of their passing. History can be a bit revisionist due to changing pop culture trends and relative to ones personal exposure. Was Adam West mainly known for Batman? Of course. But there is an entire generation that knows him as Mayor West from Family Guy and have no idea that he was ever Batman.
That's a fair point. To move the analogy to sports, I'm sure there are millennials that have no idea the Seattle Seahawks ever were in the AFC, or the Milwaukee Brewers ever were in the American League, or the Montreal Expos once were a thing, etc.

Re: It is interesting to note how many actors are best known for their Batman characters

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:36 pm
by Dr. Shimel
High C wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:03 am
Scott Sebring wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:57 am
Not to be morbid but if you want to see what somebody was "best known for" at the time of their death, just check out their obituary at the time of their passing. History can be a bit revisionist due to changing pop culture trends and relative to ones personal exposure. Was Adam West mainly known for Batman? Of course. But there is an entire generation that knows him as Mayor West from Family Guy and have no idea that he was ever Batman.
That's a fair point. To move the analogy to sports, I'm sure there are millennials that have no idea the Seattle Seahawks ever were in the AFC, or the Milwaukee Brewers ever were in the American League, or the Montreal Expos once were a thing, etc.cor
When Cliff Robertson died, one major headline focused on his role in Spiderman. :oops: Even if Shame was a minor blip on his career, he did win a Best Actor Oscar.