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This story first appeared in the May 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Despite having breathed life into the Dark Knight and his seedy Gotham City, Bob Kane preferred the sunny climes of Los Angeles.
Kane, who created Batman with help from artists Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, always seemed to have Hollywood in his sights, despite being a Bronx boy. Born Robert Kahn in 1918 (he changed his name when he turned 18), Kane turned to the movies he loved — like 1926’s The Bat and 1930’s The Bat Whispers — as well as pulp heroes Zorro and The Shadow to create his crime-fighter. The comic industry’s first superstar, Kane lived the life of a debonair playboy.
PHOTOS: Tracking the Caped Crusader From His Goofy Beginnings to Modern Mettle
He retired from official Batman duty in 1966, just as the TV series took off, and moved to California, where he painted, hobnobbed with such celebrities as Muhammad Ali, Fidel Castro and Francis Ford Coppola and tried his hand at screenwriting. (He and his wife, Elizabeth, occasionally went on double dates with Marvel’s Stan Lee, who moved to L.A. in the ’70s.)
“He always wanted Batman to be on the screen, that was his dream,” says Elizabeth. Tim Burton‘s Batman hit theaters in 1989 — eight years before Kane died.
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