Like many “Batman” fans, we were saddened to hear of last week’s passing of Adam West.
West, who played Batman on the 1960s TV series, died in Los Angeles on June 9 following a brief battle with leukemia. He was 88.
What we didn’t know is that our State Archives has a connection to the actor who played the Caped Crusader in the popular yet short-lived series.
Holy Archives, Batman! West had deep roots in Washington!
On September 19, 1928, West was born William West Anderson in Walla Walla. His father, Otto West Anderson, was born in Washington in 1903. His mother, Audrey Volenne Speer (maiden name), was born in Washington in 1906.
West attended Walla Walla High School during his freshman and sophomore years, and later enrolled in Lakeside School in Seattle. He went on to earn a degree in literature and psychology from Whitman College. He was a member of the Gamma Zeta Chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He also participated on the speech and debate team.
So what in the Gotham City is the Archives connection to Batman? The State Digital Archives has a digital copy of West’s marriage certificate when West, who was still known then as William West Anderson, and his first wife, Billie Lou Yeager, tied the knot on August 27, 1950, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Walla Walla. They had two children. Anderson and his family later moved to Los Angeles where he changed his name to Adam West. The couple divorced in 1956.
Are you working on a genealogy project on an ancestor? The State Digital Archives has collection of marriage records that you can access for free.