Posted: July 21, 2018 by Max Byrne

For your consideration in July\’s Hall of Fame nominees, I present to you the man that is without question the definitive live action Robin. His portrayal of The Boy Wonder remains the standout by far, still loved the world over more than 50 years since its inception. Of course, it is none other than the magnificent Burt Ward.

Ward was born Bert John Gervis Jr., on July 6, 1945, in Los Angeles. His father, Bert Sr., was the owner of a traveling ice show named “Rhapsody on Ice”.

Aged just two, Ward was named as the world’s youngest professional ice skater in a magazine named Strange as it Seems. Excelling in several sports whilst in high school, such as wrestling, athletics and football. Also, he was a keen practitioner of the martial art taekwondo, all of which would stand him in good stead for his future destiny….

At the tender age of 19, the audition process began for the role of Robin in the magnificent 1966 television series, Batman. Beating scores of young hopefuls to the part, footage of his audition can be seen below. Even at this early stage, you can see his martial arts skills that must have blown away the producers. Stood in an early version of the costume, Burt Ward looks every inch the epitome of Dick Grayson. Incidentally, one key episode of Batman featured a crossover with The Green Hornet and Kato. Playing Kato was of course, the legendary Bruce Lee. Ward and Lee were already friends prior to the filming, but certainly didn\’t hold back with each other when it came to their confrontation onscreen. Burt did not look out of place against such a martial arts master, showcasing his physical skills!

So much of Ward’s portrayal of Robin has become iconic. From his limitless enthusiasm to his earnest approach to his homework, all of his performance was pitched just right. Capturing the camp tone of the show, but playing it fairly straight throughout, there is so much fun to be had and enjoyed throughout the 120 episodes. Of course, no show was complete without a famous “Holy..” quip, as he reacted to each death defying and brain teasing situation the dynamic duo found themselves in. My personal favourite?

“Holy Priceless Collection of Etruscan Snoods…..”

Following the show’s cancellation after three wonderful seasons, Burt continued to act in well over 40 tv movies, but never quite shook off the Robin mantle, and why would he want to I ask? It was, and is, the role of a lifetime, forever embedded in the hearts of all comic book and pop culture fans the world over.

Everything in life goes in circles, and true to that, in 2016, both Burt Ward and Adam West reprised their iconic roles in the brilliant animated movie, Batman: Return of The Caped Crusaders. Affectionately capturing the tone of the 1960s, the film was a roaring success, giving young fans the chance to discover their unique chemistry and camaraderie, which shines though like a light. This led to an inevitable sequel, Batman vs Two-Face, featuring the unique vocal talents of Mr William Shatner as the titular villain! Sadly, this was to be Adam West’s last recorded work before he passed away in June 2017. What a fitting epitaph, as these two great friends had that one last collaboration in their signature roles.

In addition to his show business accolades, Burt has, along with his wife Tracey, devoted the last 24 years to rescuing giant-breed dogs through their company Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoption Inc. Their work is quite astounding, rescuing over 14,000 dogs! Not only that, they have developed their own, all natural dog food that has managed to actually extend the lives of the dogs that they care for, which is a remarkable achievement. 

Link to their website: http://gentlegiantsrescue.com

There is no way that Burt Ward cannot be in the DC World Hall of Fame, as audiences will continue to enjoy his performances for centuries to come…..get voting!!!!!

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