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Burt Ward (born Bert John Gervis, Jr.; July 6, 1945) is an Americanmarker television actor and activist. He is best known for his work as Robin, the "Boy Wonder," in the 1960s television series Batman. The show, which aired on ABC from 1966 to 1968, starred Ward as Robin with Adam West as the title character.

Early life

Ward as Robin
Ward was born as Bert John Gervis, Jr. in Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker. At the age of two, Ward was listed in the magazine Strange as it Seems as the world's youngest professional ice skater. Growing up, he was an avid reader of comic books like Superman and Superboy, and enjoyed the action-adventure show Adventures of Superman. He acquired the nickname "Sparky" in his youth, derived from the sparks his skates used to kick up during his routines. He excelled in high school athletic activities such as football, track, and wrestling, and he was also a member of the chess club and earned a black belt in Taekwondo. After graduation, he enrolled in college, while working part-time for his father's real estate company.

Batman

At the age of 19, he auditioned for the part of Robin without having ever read a Batman comic book. Upon meeting with executive producer William Dozier for the role, Dozier was impressed, saying "Robin just walked into my office." Adam West and Ward were up against Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell for the roles of Batman and Robin, respectively. During this time, the show was being planned as a campy style action-adventure show, and their screen tests consisted of staged fight scenes and, at one point, Ward chopping a set of boards with his hand. Eventually, he was selected for the role of Robin at age 20, stepping onto the screen in 1966 with the debut of Batman.

Believing that people would have a hard time pronouncing Gervis (the G is soft, as in gentleman), he adopted his mother's maiden name Ward. He also changed the spelling of Bert to Burt to add "punch".

Unlike his series' lead, Adam West, Ward was required to do some dangerous stunt work, because his costume revealed more of his face than a stuntman could.

According to a 2000 A&E Biography interview of his series' star, the "Dynamic Duo" often feuded. Tempers flared off the set, though today West and Ward appear to be good friends long after the show's run.

At the height of Batman's popularity, Ward recorded a series of tracks under the production of Frank Zappa. The first two, "Boy Wonder, I Love You" (which Zappa wrote) and "Orange Colored Sky," were released as a single on November 14, 1966. Two other tracks from these sessions, "Teenage Bill of Rights" and "Autumn Love", remained unreleased.

During the first months of shooting, Ward was paid $350 per week. By the series' end, he was earning up to $600 a week. The series only lasted three seasons, for a total of 120 episodes; according to Ward in an interview, this was because of the high cost of production. It was still high in the ratings, but ABC was losing a great deal of money, as can be seen in the decline of the sets and constant re-use of stock footage. Later, NBC offered to pick it up for a fourth season, but the offer was withdrawn upon learning that the sets had been bulldozed.

Post-Batman career

After the end of Batman, Ward found himself hard-pressed to find other acting jobs. He re-emerged to act in more than 30 made-for-television films such as Virgin High.

Although reportedly wanted by the producer, Ward did not get the Dustin Hoffman part in The Graduate because he chose to renew his contract with the Batman TV show and the studio (20th Century Fox) did not want to dilute his popularity and identification as Robin.

Ward did, however, appear in numerous reunions with co-star Adam West. The most memorable included reprising their roles as Batman and Robin on a short-lived animated television series called The New Adventures of Batman, the theater show Legends of the Superheroes, and the 2003 television movie, Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt.

During a Pro Wrestling Unplugged angle with wrestler Johnny Kashmere, Ward "knighted" Kashmere as the "New Batman". Ward has appeared on the show multiple times, walking out to the theme music from the 1960s Batman.

Ward has stated in the news section on his website that he will no longer be doing personal appearances in order to concentrate his time on family and his canine rescue organization.

He now runs Logical Figments, a special effects contractor that provides graphics and animation for commercials and occasional feature films including Bulletproof Monk.

Personal life

Autobiography

Ward wrote a tell-all autobiography called Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights (ISBN 0-9647048-0-3), which described his life at the time that he played Robin. In 2001, Ward began Boy Wonder Visual Effects, Inc. which has provided visual effects for 25 studio features, 10 independent films, and several television series.

Animal work

In 1994, Ward and his wife, Tracy Posner Ward, founded a charitable organization called Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions, Inc., which rescues giant breed dogs like Great Danes and some smaller breed dogs. Their work with the organization has been featured in such outlets as People magazine, ASPCA Animal Watch, Hard Copy, Inside Edition, and Entertainment Tonight.

Burt Ward was seen in an episode of Animal Planet's Adoption Tales.

Family

Ward's first wife was Bonney Lindsey, daughter of conductor Mort Lindsey. Their daughter Lisa Ann Ward was born in 1966, and became a mother in 1991. He was briefly married to actress Kathy Kersh and to model Mariana Torchia.

Since 1990, Ward has been married to Tracy Posner. Their daughter Melody Lane Ward was born on February 16, 1991.

References

  1. Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt, 2003.
  2. The Zappa Patio: Unreleased Records by Burt Ward.
  3. Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions.
  4. Canine Crusader.
  5. Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoption: We're on TV!.


External links




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