Burt Ward Is Famous For Playing Batman’s Sidekick, But In Real Life He’s A Genuine Hero

Actor Burt Ward shot to fame in the 1960s playing Robin on the popular superhero series Batman. Nearly six decades later, he paid a visit to The Ellen Show. While the first question host Ellen DeGeneres asked Ward was about Batman, it quickly became clear that she had no interest in talking about fictional superheroes; she wanted to know about Ward’s life-saving actions in real life.

A superhero on screen and off

"I knew nothing about Batman or Robin," Ward told People in June 2023. He had actually grown up reading the Superman comic books, not those of the caped crusader. Yet the moment Ward met his co-star, Adam West, he seemingly knew it was a match made in heaven. "Within five minutes, the two of us were laughing," he said. "We got along so incredibly, and we never stopped laughing for more than 55 years."

The show made things happen

Even as they were working on Batman, Ward had no idea that it was going to have such a lasting impact. He told Ellen when he appeared on her show, "After I heard what the ratings were the opening night, 55 share, which was greater than the Super Bowl that year, then I knew something was really afoot." But that's all he said about his career — because Ellen was more interested in his heroics off screen.

A life well lived

That was somewhat of a shame because Ward actually does have a fascinating life story. For instance, Burt Ward is not even his real name. He was born Bert John Gervis Jr. on July 6, 1945, in Los Angeles. He was the son of real-estate specialist Bert John Gervis Sr. and Marjorie Ward — so you can guess where the "Ward" stage name came from. The future actor was surrounded by considerable wealth as a youngster, with his parents being solidly middle-class. And his childhood sounds pretty idyllic.

Breaking the ice

Ward enjoyed playing a lot of sports growing up, including one activity you wouldn’t readily associate with California. With his dad being the proprietor of the wandering ice extravaganza Rhapsody On Ice, Ward had a passion for ice skating as a boy. In fact, Ward wanted to be a skater more than anything. His sporting prowess was such that in elementary school he was crowned “athlete of the year,” reportedly taking just six seconds to complete the 50-yard sprint!