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Burt Ward

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Also Known As: Herbert Gervis Died:
Born: July 6, 1945 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA Profession: executive, actor, real estate salesperson

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Actor Burt Ward rose from obscurity to the height of pop culture celebrity in the mid-1960s as Robin, the Boy Wonder on "Batman" (ABC, 1966-68). His lack of experienced served the golly-gee nature of the role perfectly, and for three years, he and co-star Adam West, who played the Dark Knight, were the toast of television. After the show's cancellation, he entered the twilight world reserved for stars who dimmed as quickly as they shone: an endless cycle of low-budget movies and convention appearances, often in costume. For his part, Ward took the reversal of fortune in stride, mining his past success for all it was worth. In doing so, he preserved a degree of immortality for an aging but nevertheless faithful following.Born Bert John Gervis, Jr. in Los Angeles on July 6, 1945, Burt Ward was the son of Bert Gervis, Sr., and his wife, Marjorie Ward, whose maiden name would provide her son with a stage surname during his acting career. Gervis, Sr. owned a traveling ice show called "Rhapsody on Ice," and by the age of two, Ward was promoted as the "World's Youngest Ice Skater" in the pages of Strange as It Seems magazine. He remained athletic throughout his childhood, participating in numerous high...

Actor Burt Ward rose from obscurity to the height of pop culture celebrity in the mid-1960s as Robin, the Boy Wonder on "Batman" (ABC, 1966-68). His lack of experienced served the golly-gee nature of the role perfectly, and for three years, he and co-star Adam West, who played the Dark Knight, were the toast of television. After the show's cancellation, he entered the twilight world reserved for stars who dimmed as quickly as they shone: an endless cycle of low-budget movies and convention appearances, often in costume. For his part, Ward took the reversal of fortune in stride, mining his past success for all it was worth. In doing so, he preserved a degree of immortality for an aging but nevertheless faithful following.

Born Bert John Gervis, Jr. in Los Angeles on July 6, 1945, Burt Ward was the son of Bert Gervis, Sr., and his wife, Marjorie Ward, whose maiden name would provide her son with a stage surname during his acting career. Gervis, Sr. owned a traveling ice show called "Rhapsody on Ice," and by the age of two, Ward was promoted as the "World's Youngest Ice Skater" in the pages of Strange as It Seems magazine. He remained athletic throughout his childhood, participating in numerous high school sports and studying karate.

At 17, Ward met Bonnie Lindsey, whose father, conductor Mort Lindsey, arranged for them to work as theater apprentices at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, PA. There, he learned the basics of stage craft and acting through observing and participating in rehearsals. Upon his return to California, he studied theater at UCLA while earning his real estate license, which he hoped would provide him with financial solvency while he pursued his acting career. In 1965, Ward married Lindsey, who would be the first of his four wives.

Ward's father introduced him to producer Saul David, who saw a future in Hollywood for the young man. He introduced Ward to Jim Moloney of the John F. Dugan Agency, who sent him on an audition for an ABC action series based on the venerable "Batman" comic book. His screen test with Adam West consisted of several fight scenes and a demonstration of his karate skills. Soon thereafter, the 20-year-old was cast as Robin opposite Ward's Caped Crusader in the series. For his screen debut, Ward adopted his mother's maiden name as his screen surname, and changed the spelling of his first name to "Burt."

"Batman" was an overnight success. Its campy tone was personified by West's deadpan delivery as Batman, and Ward's inexperience proved to be a plus in his portrayal of Robin as a wide-eyed, easily duped young man. Ward's role on the show was largely defined by his constant amazement at Batman's crime fighting skills and logic, which he punctuated with his catch phrase, "Holy -!" with the second half of the phrase being a word related to the discussion. Robin's other function was to stumble into one trap or another set by the show's rotating cast of super villains, thus requiring Batman to rescue the Boy Wonder in the nick of time before the final credits.

For three years, Ward was at the top of the pop culture heap. A "Batman" movie in 1966 and countless promotional appearances kept him in the public eye, and he even attempted to capitalize on his newfound fame by recording a few songs, produced and written by none other than Frank Zappa. But as the ratings soared, so too did the cost of production, and in 1968, ABC shut down "Batman," which in turn, closed the door on Ward's acting career.

His lack of acting ability, which had been a positive on "Batman," made it difficult for him to find other roles, so he resorted to joining West in promotional appearances, both tricked out in their costumes, and voicing Robin in two animated "Batman" series: "The New Adventures of Batman" (CBS, 1977) and "Tarzan and the Super 7" (CBS, 1978-1980). In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he began taking live-action roles in low-budget genre pictures like "Robo-Chic" (1990) and "Virgin High" (1991), and with his fourth wife, Tracey Posner, launched Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions, Inc., which rescued large breed dogs.

In 1995, Ward penned an autobiography, Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights, which made headlines for claims of outrageous sexual hijinks that occurred during his time in the spotlight with "Batman." Some of the material from his book made its way into "Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt" (CBS, 2003), a comedy-reunion special in which the actors reminisced about various outré memories while searching for the stolen Batmobile. In addition to his animal rescue business and steady stream of promotional appearances at conventions, Ward also ran a special effects house, Logical Figments, which provided graphics and animation for films, television series and commercials.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Moving Targets (1999)
3.
 Assault of the Party Nerds II (1994) Randolph
4.
 Beach Babes From Beyond (1993) (Cameo Appearance)
5.
 Smooth Talker (1992) Lab Technician
6.
 Hot Under the Collar (1992) The Pope
7.
 Test Positive (1991)
8.
 Electric Dragon (1991)
9.
 Kill Crazy (1990)
10.
 Virgin High (1990) Dick Murphy
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1965:
Signed to contract with 20th Century Fox Studios
1966:
Co-starred as Robin the Boy Wonder on the superhero action spoof, "Batman"
1966:
Co-starred as Robin in the feature film, "Batman"
:
Studied the occult; tried marketing felt-tip pens
:
Served as president, Entertainment Licensing Corporation and Entertainment Management Corporation, Malibu, CA
:
Supplied the voice of Robin (opposite Adam West, creator of the TV "Batman") on NBC animated children's series, "Batman and the Super Seven"
1984:
Held office of president of A Night with the Stars Inc.
1986:
Served as president of Pinnacle Associates, Inc., publicly held trading company
1988:
Produced children's educational video, "The World of Earlybird"
:
Has played supporting guest roles in such low-budget feature films as "Robot Ninja" (1989), "Virgin High", "Robo-C.H.I.C.", "Kill Crazy" and "Smooth Talker" (all 1990)
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Education

University of California at Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara , California - 1964
University of California at Los Angeles: Los Angeles , California - 1965

Notes

On "Batman" and his co-star Adam West: "Our characters were antiseptic, but we weren't." --Burt Ward in a Canadian radio interview

Ward was a committee member of the UCLA Speed Reading Contest, sponsored by the American Medical Society, Beverly Hills (1963)

He was named Man of the Year by Harvard University (1984)

Ward received the Gold Mask Award given by the Hollywood Appreciation Society (1984)

Ward is also a recipient of the Bronze Halo Award given by the Southern California Motion Picture Society (1984)

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Bonney Lindsey. Married on July 19, 1965; divorced in December 1966.
wife:
Kathy Kersh. Second wife; married on February 25, 1967; divorced in June 1968.
wife:
Mariana Daniela Torchia. Third wife; married on August 10, 1985; divorced.
wife:
Tracy Posner. Fourth wife; daughter of financier Victor Posner.
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Family close complete family listing

father:
Burt John Gervis. Owner of the Rhapsody in Ice show.
mother:
Marjorie Charlotte Ward Blumenfeld.
daughter:
Lisa Ward. Mother Bonney Lindsey.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights"

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