Wilson in 1943
Lewis Gilbert Wilson
January 28, 1920
|Died||August 9, 2000 (aged 80)|
Lewis Gilbert Wilson (January 28, 1920 – August 9, 2000) was an American actor from New York City who was most famous for being the first actor to play DC Comics character Batman on screen in the 1943 film serial Batman.
Life and career
Following the entry of the United States into World War II, in 1943 Columbia Pictures created the first Batman live action series, simply called Batman. Wilson was cast as the title character in the 15-episode serial against J. Carrol Naish who portrayed a Japanese spy called Dr Daka who headed a group of American traitors in a fight to take over America for Japanese control. It was Wilson's screen debut at the age of 23. A sequel to the serial was made in 1949, but Robert Lowery replaced Wilson as Batman.
After the war concluded, Wilson and his family moved to California and he and his wife joined the Pasadena Playhouse. His final film was the Jerry Hopper film Naked Alibi in 1954. He then retired from show-business and worked for General Foods for many years. In retirement, he lived in North Hollywood, California. Despite his death being reported in Newspapers in 1966 as occurring "some years ago", he died in San Francisco, California, aged 80, 34 years after the report and 1 year after colleague Kirk Alyn's death.
He grew up in Littleton, Massachusetts, where his father, John Henry Wilson, was minister of the First Unitarian Church from 1927-1945. He was married to novelist and actress Dana Broccoli (née Natol), who died in 2004. They met while attending the Academy of Dramatic Arts at Carnegie Hall in New York. They separated and divorced after moving to California, with Dana marrying Albert R. Broccoli in 1959. Their son, film producer Michael G. Wilson, is best known for his work on the James Bond film series.
- Batman (1943) – Bruce Wayne / Batman
- Redhead from Manhattan (1943) – Paul
- Good Luck, Mr. Yates (1943) – Parkhurst (uncredited)
- First Comes Courage (1943) – Dr. Kleinich (uncredited)
- My Kingdom for a Cook (1943) – Reporter (uncredited)
- There's Something About a Soldier (1943) – Thomas Bolivar Jefferson
- Klondike Kate (1943) – George Graham (uncredited)
- The Racket Man (1944) – Capt. Anderson (uncredited)
- Sailor's Holiday (1944) – Jerome 'Iron Man' Collins
- Once Upon a Time (1944) – Man (uncredited)
- Wild Woman (1951) – Trent
- Craig Kennedy, Criminologist (1952) – Walt Jameson
- Naked Alibi (1954) – Border Patrol Officer (uncredited)
- "Michael Wilson Biography (1942-)".
- Legge, Charles (8 September 2008). "The masked man; Caped Crusaders: Lewis Wilson and Douglas Croft in the 1943 film". Daily Mail. Retrieved 4 June 2012. (Subscription required (help)).
- Kukuruzovic, Simon (17 June 2005). "Bale Piles of Weight for Batman Capers". Coventry Evening Telegraph. Retrieved 4 June 2012. (Subscription required (help)).
- "Oscar Batman". The Malay Mail. 16 June 2005. Retrieved 4 June 2012. (Subscription required (help)).
- "Dana Broccoli (Obituaries)". Daily Variety. 8 March 2004. Retrieved 4 June 2012. (Subscription required (help)).
- "TV Mailbag". The Evening Independent. 15 April 1966. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
- MA, First Church Unitarian, Littleton,. "About - History - Complete History". www.fculittle.org. Archived from the original on 2015-07-27. Retrieved 2015-09-14.
- "Obituaries: Dana Broccoli". The Daily Telegraph. 3 March 2004. Retrieved 4 June 2012.