Lewis Wilson

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For the English footballer, see Lewis Wilson (footballer).
Lewis Wilson
Born Lewis Gilbert Wilson[1]
(1920-01-28)January 28, 1920
New York City, New York
Died August 9, 2000(2000-08-09) (aged 80)
San Francisco, California
Occupation Actor
Years active 1943 - 1954

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[edit]

Wilson graduated from Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1939. His family had long roots with the school and his father and even grandfather were graduates.

Following the entry of the United States into the Second World War, 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.[2][3] It was Wilson's screen debut at the age of 23.[4] A sequel to the serial was made in 1949, but Robert Lowery replaced Wilson as Batman.[2]

After the war concluded, Wilson and his family moved to California and he and his wife joined the Pasadena Playhouse.[5] His final film was the Jerry Hopper movie 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",[6] he died in San Francisco, California, aged 80.[2]

Personal life[edit]

He grew up in Littleton, Massachusetts, where his father, John Henry Wilson, was minister of the First Unitarian Church from 1927-1945.[7] He was married to novelist and actress Dana Broccoli (née Natol), who died in 2004.[5] They met while attending the Academy of Dramatic Arts at Carnegie Hall in New York.[8] They separated and divorced after moving to California, with Dana marrying Albert R. Broccoli in 1959.[5] Their son, film producer Michael G. Wilson, is best known for his work on the James Bond film series.[2]



  1. ^ http://www.filmreference.com/film/51/Michael-Wilson.html
  2. ^ a b c d 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)). 
  3. ^ Kukuruzovic, Simon (17 June 2005). "Bale Piles of Weight for Batman Capers". Coventry Evening Telegraph. Retrieved 4 June 2012. (subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ "Oscar Batman". The Malay Mail. 16 June 2005. Retrieved 4 June 2012. (subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ a b c "Dana Broccoli (Obituaries)". Daily Variety. 8 March 2004. Retrieved 4 June 2012. (subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ "TV Mailbag". The Evening Independent. 15 April 1966. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  7. ^ MA, First Church Unitarian, Littleton,. "About - History - Complete History". www.fculittle.org. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
  8. ^ "Obituaries: Dana Broccoli". The Daily Telegraph. 3 March 2004. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Actors to portray Batman
Succeeded by
Robert Lowery