Veteran Hollywood director Leslie Martinson, the prolific man who steered the wacky 1966 feature film Batman: The Movie into summertime theaters, has died at the monumental age of 101.
Martinson passed away peacefully of natural causes on Sept. 3 at his home in Los Angeles and is survived by his wife, Connie Martinson, a TV host and writer.
Born in Boston, Mass., on Jan. 16, 1915, he began his Hollywood success story with MGM in 1936. Moving into early television directing on The Roy Rogers Show in 1953, Martinson was an invaluable asset to the networks over his four decade career, working on over 100 iconic TV series like Maverick, Cheyenne, The Green Hornet, Wonder Woman, The Brady Bunch, Mannix, Ironside, Mission: Impossible, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, CHiPS, Cannon, Barnaby Jones, Love American Style, Diff'rent Strokes and Small Wonder.
Outside his impressive resume of television classics, the hard-driving New Englander directed the 1963 feature PT-109 with Cliff Robertson and Fathom starring Raquel Welch in 1966.
Tapped to direct the first feature-length appearance of the Caped Crusader for Batman: The Movie, Martinson retained the TV series' campy, colorful tone that made the show such a hit for ABC and filmed the entire movie in 27 days in between the show's first and second seasons. Batman: The Movie was shot for $1.3 million and hit theaters in July of 1966 starring Adam West and Burt Ward as the Dynamic Duo and a motley crew of the most notorious Bat-villians: The Joker (Cesar Romero), The Penguin (Burgess Meredith), The Riddler (Frank Gorshin) and Catwoman (Lee Meriwether). Martinson also directed two installments of Batman the TV series during the debut season, a two-parter starring The Penguin titled "The Penguin Goes Straight" and "Not Yet, He Ain't."
Martinson will be laid to rest at Temple Israel Cemetery, Wakefield, on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016.