Final broadcast: Thursday, March 14th, 1968 on the US ABC network
Description: Camp, colourful live action series based on the characters from the DC Comics universe with its tongue thrust firmly into its cheek. There was a regular roster of guest villains for Batman and his Boy Wonder sidekick Robin to face each week, as well as a wealth of one-off guest villains, often played by popular performers of the day. It ran for 120 episodes over three series.
- A film version often referred to as Batman: The Movie was released in July 1966, just one month after the end of the first television series. It starred all of the main series villains (ie, Penguin, Joker, Catwoman and Riddler) working together to defeat the Caped Crusader. It had a budget of $1.54m but only made $1.7m at the box office and through North American rentals.
|Cesar as the Cisco Kid in|
1941, aged 34
Film roles came along too - he played an Italian gangster in the Dustin Hoffman vehicle Madigan's Millions (1968), and played wealthy businessman A J Arno in three live action Disney films starring Kurt Russell as Dexter Riley - The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969), Now You See Him, Now You Don't (1972) and The Strongest Man in the World (1975).
His CV was bursting with guest roles as the 1970s wore into the 80s and 90s - Ellery Queen (1976), Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979), Charlie's Angels (1980), Magnum PI (1985), Riptide (1985-86), The Golden Girls (1990) and Jack's Place (1992).
Between 1985-88 Cesar played Jane Wyman's love interest Peter Stavros in more than 50 episodes of the US soap Falcon Crest, but as the 1990s arrived, and old age began to take its toll, Cesar withdrew from the profession. His last role before his death was that of actor Marcello Abruzzi in an episode of Murder, She Wrote called Murder in Milan, broadcast on September 20th, 1992, when Cesar was 85.
Cesar appeared as himself a number of times throughout 1993, including Dame Edna's Hollywood and a TV biography of Shirley Temple called America's Little Darling.
|Cesar arriving at a party|
in 1993, the year before
Before his death Cesar had given interviews for a handful of documentaries released after his death, including A Century of Cinema (1994) and Carmen Miranda: Bananas is My Business (1995). In December 1998 a low budget film called The Right Way was released starring Joseph Campanella, Geoff Pierson and Joe Santos. Cesar had filmed his scenes for the $500,000 production before he died, but the film was not released for four whole years, and so became his final, posthumous acting credit.
Burgess was another well-established and prolific character actor by the time he was cast as the Penguin aged 59. He'd debuted with an uncredited role in the Oscar-winning Noel Coward film The Scoundrel (1935), but soon carved a reputation for himself as a diverse and talented actor in films such as Of Mice and Men (1939), The Man on the Eiffel Tower (1949), Joe Butterfly (1957) and The Kidnappers (1958). Sadly, being named as an "unfriendly witness" and placed on the Red Channel by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the early 1950s meant his film career suffered - he went almost seven years without a silver screen role.
|A young and handsome Burgess|
in a publicity photo from
In 1965 he secured the running role of Principal Martin Woodridge in the James Franciscus series Mr Novak, and co-starred with Lana Turner and Ricardo Montalban in Madame X. However, his 21 episodes (plus the movie) as the Penguin are perhaps his greatest legacy, but during these two years his CV continued to expand with guest appearances in series such as The Invaders (1967), Bonanza (1967) and Daniel Boone (1969).
|Burgess as Mickey Goldmill in Rocky V|
in 1990, when he was 83 years old
Of course one of Burgess's defining character roles was Mickey Goldmill in the Rocky series of films. He appeared in four of the first five films between 1976 and 1990 (he wasn't in Rocky IV, but did feature in archive footage), and was nominated for an Oscar for his work in the first film.
|In his last film role, in|
Grumpier Old Men, aged 88
|Burgess, aged 89, made his last public|
appearance at the People's Choice
Awards in March 1996
In his autobiography So Far, So Good published in 1994, Burgess revealed that for years he'd been suffering from violent mood swings caused by cyclothymia, a form of bipolar disorder. Burgess finally passed away, at the age of 89, of complications arising from Alzheimer's Disease and melanoma at his Malibu home on September 9th, 1997. Batman actor Adam West spoke at his memorial service, and his remains were cremated.
This breakthrough saw Julie's star ascend in films such as The Rookie (1959), Li'l Abner (1959) and The Marriage-Go-Round (1961) before she landed the lead role of Rhoda Miller in the sitcom My Living Doll (1964-65). Over the course of 26 episodes she played a robot codenamed AF 709 who is taught the ways of being a sophisticated woman by friend Bob (Robert Cummings).
|Julie at the 2014 ComicCon|
in Phoenix, Arizona, aged 81
Julie's acting roles in the 21st century have been few and far between. After playing Catwoman in a 1998 episode of the sitcom Maggie, she has had only three credits - Judy's mother in 1999's If... Dog... Rabbit, neighbour Julie in sitcom According to Jim (2006, incidentally spoofing a real-life feud between Julie and her neighbour James Belushi) and the voice of Martha Wayne in the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2010). However, she pops up on talking head shows regularly chatting about her career, and also attends conventions and signings. Now in her eighties, Julie suffers from the neurological disorder Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease.
|Lee as Lisa Carson in the 1967 Batman|
story King Tut's Coup/ Batman's Waterloo
After her dalliance with the Caped Crusader Lee secured a regular role as Dr Ann MacGregor in the Irwin Allen series The Time Tunnel (1966-67), then continued to make many guest star appearances in Star Trek (1969), Mannix (1969), Mission: Impossible (1969-70), The New Andy Griffith Show (1971), Time Express (1979) and CHiPS (1979). Throughout the 1970s her most high profile role was as Betty Jones in the detective series Barnaby Jones, playing daughter-in-law to Buddy Ebsen's title character in no fewer than 178 episodes between 1973-80.
|Lee, aged 79, pictured in March 2015|
As Lee reached her 65th year as the millennium turned she began to pick and choose her roles more carefully, the most memorable of which is probably that of Ruth Martin in the soap opera All My Children, appearing in 49 episodes between 1996 and 2011. She's also appeared in Desperate Housewives (2012), Hawaii Five-O (2012) and The League (2012).
Lee continues to act today, with several productions she's filmed scenes for in post-production awaiting release or broadcast, and regularly attends Hollywood galas, premieres and fundraisers.
Eartha's career outside of Batman is epic. She was a dancer, singer, cabaret artiste, comedienne and even an activist, so let's concentrate on her screen work to try and focus things a little. Her earliest screen appearance was as an uncredited dancer in 1948's Casbah, while she appeared as herself in 1951's Paris is Always Paris. The acting roles began to come with 1953's The Conquest of Mexico, followed by work in Salome (1955), St Louis Blues (1958), Burke's Law (1965) and Mission: Impossible (1967).
She made her first appearance as the TV series' second Catwoman in December 1967's The Bloody Tower, and appeared in a total of five episode in the third series, ending with The Joke's on Catwoman in January 1968.
|Eartha in Miami Vice, aged 58|
One of Eartha's final personal appearances was on BBC1's Breakfast programme in the UK on April 23rd, 2008 (where she appeared full of life), and in February 2009, just five weeks after she'd died, PBS in the United States broadcast An Evening with Eartha Kitt, which had been recorded at the Northwestern University Law School in Chicago on September 20th, 2008. In the hour-long special, she performed Ain't Misbehavin', La Vie en Rose and Here's to Life - her final public performances.
|Eartha pictured in 2007, the|
year before she passed away
"I was with her when she died. She left this world literally screaming at the top of her lungs. I was with her constantly. She was home for the last few weeks when the doctor told us there was nothing they could do any more. Up until the last two days, she was still moving around. The doctor told us she would leave very quickly and her body would just start to shut down.
"But when she left, she left the world with a bang, she left it how she lived it. She screamed her way out of here, literally. I truly believe her survival instincts were so part of her DNA that she was not going to go quietly or willingly. It was just the two of us hanging out during the last days and she was very funny. We didn't have to talk because I always knew how she felt about me. I was the love of her life, so the last part of her life we didn't have to have these heart-to-heart talks.
"She started to see people that weren't there. She thought I could see them too, but, of course, I couldn't. I would make fun of her, like: 'I'm going to go in the other room and you stay here and talk to your friends'!"
|An iconic moment... Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar and Lee|
Meriwether at the TV Land Awards, March 17th, 2004
For ten years before pulling on the Riddler's catsuit Frank had been working hard in character roles. Debuting in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents in 1956, he appeared in Hot Rod Girl (1956), The True Story of Jesse James (1957), Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957), Tank Battalion (1958), Hennesey (1959), The George Raft Story (1961), That Darn Cat! (1965) and The Munsters (1966).
He played the Riddler in nine episodes of the series, and a tenth as an uncredited voiceover, plus, of course, the movie. He debuted in the very first episode of Batman, Hi Diddle Riddle, on January 12th, 1966, and last appeared in Ring Around the Riddler in September 1967. When Frank was unable to reprise the role for the story Batman's Anniversary/ A Riddling Controversy in February 1967, the Riddler was temporarily played by John Astin (see below).
|Frank, aged 62, as Dr Fletcher in 1995's|
12 Monkeys (note the cigarette!)
In fact, Frank was so prolific that a number of his projects didn't see the light of day until after he'd died, including playing George Burns in the comedy Angels with Angles (2005), a role in the lamentable horror flick The Creature of the Sunny Side Up Trailer Park (2006) alongside Lynda Carter, and finally a guest role on the Rob Lowe series Dr Vegas, broadcast on October 6th, 2006, a full 16 months after he'd died.
|Frank in 2005, the year|
he died aged 72
Ironically, Frank appeared as himself in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation entitled Grave Danger, broadcast two days after his death, on May 19th, 2005. It was directed by Quentin Tarantino, and dedicated to Frank's memory on transmission. Two days later, the Riddler (this time voiced by Robert Englund) made his debut on The Batman animated series... a passing of the baton, perhaps?
|The last ever photo taken of Frank, on|
April 25th, 2005, aboard the flight from
Tennessee when he was taken ill
with breathing difficulties
By 1967 John was best known for playing the iconic role of Gomez Addams in the horror sitcom The Addams Family between 1964-66, and prior to that he regularly played Harry Dickens in the sitcom I'm Dickens, He's Fenster (1962-63). After Batman John's career simply continued in the way it was before, with a plethora of guest appearances in many TV series and films. Notable roles were in the original Freaky Friday film (1976), and a return to the role of Gomez in a 1977 Hallowe'en reunion special.
|Gomez Addams through the years - in 1964, 1977, 1992 and 1998|
The 1990s bought more high profile, or at least well-remembered, notches to his CV - he had a cameo as a janitor in Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), appeared in sequels Killer Tomatoes Strike Back (1991) and Killer Tomatoes Eat France (1992), and the animated spin-off Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1990-91), voicing Dr Putrid T Gangreen. There were also recurring roles in Eerie, Indiana (1992), another return to the part of Gomez in the animated series The Addams Family (1992-93), The Adventures of Brisco County Jr (1993-94), the cartoon Duckman (1994-97), and yet another return to the Addams canon, this time as Grandpapa Addams in The New Addams Family (1998-99).
|John pictured in July 2014, aged 84|
However, John still appears as himself on American TV, most recently at the Star-Spangled Spectacular celebrating the bicentennial of the American National Anthem in his hometown of Balitmore in September 2013. He also teaches method acting and directing at John Hopkins University, Baltimore, his almer mater. He practices Nichiren Buddhism and is a member of Soka Gakkai International.