Walla Walla lost a hometown hero with Batman actor Adam West’s death on Friday.
West’s family moved to Walla Walla, where his father operated a wheat ranch, shortly after his birth in 1928.
His interest in acting started while watching cowboy movies and serials at the now-demolished Roxy Theatre, he said.
While he moved away from the city when he was 14, he returned to attend Whitman College, where he majored in English literature and planned to take to the stage.
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He returned to Walla Walla after serving in the military, and worked on his father’s ranch before moving to Hawaii and later Hollywood, where he would go on to portray Batman in the 1960s television show.
Although he didn’t return to the city to live, he would come to visit. In 2010, he shared on Facebook his experience visiting for the Sweet Onion Festival.
“The onion sandwiches are popular and so is the lovely Miss Sweet Onion,” West wrote. “I am honored that they have put my picture on the side of a building in a small downtown park. It’s a beautiful old place. Sometimes I wonder whether I should have left. But then ...”
Before his death, West split his time between homes in Palm Springs and Ketchum, Idaho, but he told the Walla Walla Union Bulletin in 2012 that his humble beginnings kept him grounded.
“Once you start believing your own clippings, forget it,” West said after receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “This is one of the reasons I go out and do my signings and things. There are a lot of younger people in this business that don’t realize if they don’t do that (speaking with fans), their career lasts 10 minutes.
“Mine has gone for 50 years.”