Typecasting dogged West for two full decades. He couldn’t get a lot of acting work, and recalled some of the low-paying jobs he had to take just to make ends meet in the wake of “Batman.” It would take several decades before modern-day geek culture began to form in earnest, and a cult audience of youngsters grew up into passionate adults, willing to sing West’s praises. During the “down” period, though, West wasn’t the happiest camper. When interviewer Scott Huver asked him about it, he said: 

“That’s a wonderful question because suddenly I’m getting terrible stomach pains! Scott, it wasn’t easy. What I did, I went out, I did regional theater, I did dinner theater, I did the Mark Taper Forum in [Los Angeles], I did really crappy films — anything I could to keep working and developing, and pay the damn bills.” 

It took half that time for West to even embrace “Batman” as something that can be loved. He knew fans enjoyed it, but he saw it more as a job than a mythos or entertainment. Very slowly, it seems, he began to let go of his resentment and also love the bat. He said: 

“I feel, as an actor, that it is essential to keep practicing, keep using your instrument. So I did that, and after five, six, seven years, I began to catch on with a few things. And after 10 years or so, I told myself, ‘Look, idiot. If people love Batman, if they enjoy it so much — and you know the whole family spectrum has made that apparent — then you better love it too, or there’s something wrong with your head.'”

After that catharsis, West seems to have made his peace. He was Batman ’til the end.