Burt Ward (born Bert John Gervis Jr. //, July 6, 1945) is an American actor and activist, best known for his portrayal of Robin, the sidekick of Batman (played by Adam West), in the television series Batman (1966–1968), its theatrical feature film, the 1977 Saturday Morning animated series The New Adventures of Batman, Legends of the Superheroes (1979), and two animated feature films, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016) and Batman vs. Two-Face (2017).
Ward speaking at the Phoenix Comicon in June 2014
Bert John Gervis Jr.
July 6, 1945
(m. 1965; div. 1967)
(m. 1967; div. 1969)
(m. 1985; div. 1989)
Ward was born Bert John Gervis Jr., on July 6, 1945, in Los Angeles, California. His father, Bert Sr., was the owner of a traveling ice show called "Rhapsody On Ice". At age 2, 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 such as Superman and Superboy, and enjoyed the action-adventure show Adventures of Superman. He acquired the nickname "Sparky" in his youth, possibly from the sparks his skates kicked up during his routines or his energetic nature. He excelled in high school sport activities such as football, track, and wrestling; he was also a member of the chess club and is a practitioner of Taekwondo. After graduation, he enrolled in college, while working part-time for his father's real estate company.
At the age of 19, Ward auditioned for the role of Robin. West and Ward were up against Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell for the roles of Batman and Robin, respectively. Selected for the role of Robin, Ward thought people would find Gervis (the "G" is soft, as in "gentleman") hard to pronounce and adopted his mother's maiden name, Ward. He also changed the spelling of Bert to "Burt" to add "punch".
Unlike the series' lead, Adam West, Ward was required to perform some dangerous stunt work. He was told this was because his costume revealed more of his face, making it impractical for all of his stunt scenes to be performed by a stunt double. Later, he also discovered that he was being paid the minimum wage allowed by the Screen Actors Guild, and his stunt double was paid per stunt, so having Ward perform his own stunts was a cost-saving strategy. He would see the emergency room dozens of times during his time as Robin.
At the height of the series' popularity, Ward recorded several musical 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", remain 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. Later, NBC offered to pick it up for a fourth season, but the offer was withdrawn after learning that the sets had been destroyed. Adam West and Burt Ward reprised their TV roles of Batman and Robin in the 20th Century Fox film Batman: The Movie released on July 30, 1966.
In 1969, a year after Batman's cancellation, West's mother died, bringing the two men closer together. They were reunited many times at conventions and TV reunion specials. In turn, Ward also made three guest appearances with West on separate cartoons: one was a 2002 episode of The Simpsons, later in 2010 on an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, and in 2013 for one of the final episodes of Futurama. Ward remained friends with West, until his death on June 9, 2017, at age 88. After West's death, Ward and Julie Newmar became the last surviving main cast members of Batman.
After the end of Batman, Ward found himself hard-pressed to find other acting jobs. He re-emerged to act in more than 40 made-for-television films such as Virgin High.
In June 1995, Ward wrote a tell-all autobiography called Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights, which described his time playing Robin.
Ward appeared in numerous reunions with co-star Adam West. The most memorable included reprising their roles as the Dynamic Duo on a short-lived animated series called The New Adventures of Batman, as well as The Batman/Tarzan Adventure Hour and Tarzan and the Super 7. In addition, they reappeared as the Dynamic Duo for Legends of the Superheroes. West and Ward finally reunited in 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 several times, walking out to the theme music from the 1960s Batman.
In 2001, Ward established the now-closed Boy Wonder Visual Effects, Inc.
In 2012, Bluewater comics was going to do a four-issue comic miniseries in homage to Burt Ward playing Robin, called Burt Ward, Boy Wonder, but it apparently was cancelled. It starred Burt Ward and his crimefighting rescue dogs Gentle and Giant fighting crime. Part of the first issue was released on Free Comic Book Day 2012.
Beginning in late 2017, Ward is seen promoting the Batman television series and other classic television series on the MeTV television network.
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 such as 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. Ward was also seen in an episode of Animal Planet's Adoption Tales.
Ward's first wife was Bonney Lindsey, daughter of conductor Mort Lindsey. Ward and Lindsey married on July 19, 1965 and divorced in 1967. They had one daughter, Lisa Ann Ward, in 1966. He was briefly married to actress Kathy Kersh, whom he met when she appeared as a guest on the Batman TV show 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.
- Batman – Dick Grayson / Robin (1966)
- Scream, Evelyn, Scream! – Dune Buggy Driver (1970)
- High School U.S.A. – TV Movie – Teacher (1984)
- Fire in the Night – Paul (1986)
- The Underachievers – Bowmont (1987)
- Robot Ninja – Stanley Kane (1989)
- Batman and Robin and the Other Super Heroes – Video documentary – Himself (Presenter) (1989)
- Holy Batmania – Video documentary short – Himself / Robin (1989)
- Smoothtalker – Lab Technician (1990) Produced by Eduardo Montes-Bradley, directed by Tom Milo.
- Kill Crazy – Video – Michael (1990)
- The Girl I Want – Dad (1990)
- Cyber-C.H.I.C. – Harry Truman Hodgkins (1990)
- Virgin High – Dick Murphy (1991)
- Hot Under the Collar – The Pope (1992)
- Beach Babes from Beyond – Mr. Bun (1993)
- The Dwelling – Video – Crasmire (1993)
- Reverse Heaven – Doctor (1994)
- Karate Raider (1995)
- Assault of the Party Nerds 2: The Heavy Petting Detective – Randolph (1995)
- Alien Force – Video – Omnipresent Praxima (1996)
- Moving Targets – O'Malley (1999)
- Batman Featurette – Video documentary short – Himself (2001)
- Pacino Is Missing – Guard (2002)
- Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt – Television film – Himself (2003)
- Starring Adam West – Documentary – Himself (2013)
- Na Na Batman – Featurette – Himself (2014)
- Batmania Born – Featurette – Himself (2014)
- Star Quest – Wayne (2015)
- Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders – Robin/Dick Grayson (2016)
- Batman vs. Two-Face - Robin/Dick Grayson (2017)
- Batman – 120 episodes – Robin / Dick Grayson (1966–1968)
- Batgirl – Studio Short – Robin / Dick Grayson (1967)
- The Hollywood Squares – 5 episodes – Himself (1967)
- The New Adventures of Batman – 16 episodes – Robin / Dick Grayson (1977)
- Legends of the Superheroes – Special – The Challenge – Robin (1979)
- Legends of the Superheroes – Special – The Roast – Robin (1979)
- Family Feud – episodes – Batman vs. Lost in Space & Gilligan's Island vs. Batman – Himself (1983)
- Living Single – episode – Mommy Not Dearest – Burt Ward (1995)
- Homeboys in Outer Space – episode – The Adventures of Ratman and Gerbil or, Holy Homeboys in Outer Space – Gerbil (1997)
- Biography – episode – Adam West: Behind the Cowl – Himself (2000)
- Biography – episode – Catwoman: Her Many Lives – Himself (2004)
- The Simpsons – episode – Large Marge – Robin (voice) (2002)
- Hollywood Squares – 5 episodes – Himself (2002)
- Biography – episode – Batman: Holy Batmania! – Himself (2003)
- Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt – TV Movie – Himself (2003)
- TV Land's Top Ten – TV Series documentary – Top 10 TV Dynamic Duos – Himself (2006)
- The 4th Annual TV Land Awards – TV Special – Himself (2006)
- Guiding Light – 1 episode – Himself (2008)
- SpongeBob SquarePants – episode – Back to the Past/The Bad Guy Club for Villains – Young Barnacle Boy (voice) (2010)
- Hollywood Treasure – episode – Holy Gobstopper, Batman! – Himself (2011)
- Futurama – episode – Leela and the Genestalk – Himself (2013)
- Robot Chicken DC Comics Special III: Magical Friendship – Himself (2015)
- Ward, Burt (1995). Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights. ISBN 0-9647048-0-3.
- West, Adam; Jeff Rovin. Back to the Batcave. Berkley Trade (September 1, 1994). p. 257. ISBN 0-425-14370-8.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-09-18. Retrieved 2010-09-17.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Inc, Active Interest Media (1 November 1968). "Black Belt". Active Interest Media, Inc. Retrieved 4 January 2018 – via Google Books.
- Ward, Burt (1995). Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights. p. 10. ISBN 0-9647048-0-3.
- The Zappa Patio: Unreleased Records by Burt Ward.
- Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt, 2003.
- "Adam West" – via soundcloud.com.
- FoxNews.com (June 22, 2017). "'Batman's' Burt Ward believes Adam West 'had no idea' he was going to die: He was making plans for the future". Retrieved August 7, 2017.
- Marx, Barry, Cavalieri, Joey and Hill, Thomas (w), Petruccio, Steven (a), Marx, Barry (ed). "Burt Ward Robin Swings into TV Stardom" Fifty Who Made DC Great: 35 (1985), DC Comics
- Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions.
- Canine Crusader.
- Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoption: We're on TV!.
- MacMinn, Aleene (1966-07-31). "He's truly a boy wonder". Los Angeles Times. p. A4.
- "Where are They Now? – Holy 'Tights'! Ward Tells All". Daily News of Los Angeles. 1995-07-06. p. L3.
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- Burt Ward on IMDb
- Burt Ward at the TCM Movie Database
- Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions site
- Interview with Burt Ward – The Spectrum, September, 2016
| Actors to portray Robin