AKA Bert John Gervis, Jr.
Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Robin the Boy Wonder
As a boy, Bert Gervis Jr skated in his father's traveling ice show, Rhapsody on Ice. In high school, he ran track and field, wrestled, and played on the chess team. He apprenticed at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania, not as an actor but building sets and serving as a back-stage gopher. He briefly sold real estate, but he wanted to be an actor, so Ward's father introduced him to a friend in the movie business, Saul David, who had produced Von Ryan's Express, an action movie starring Frank Sinatra. David thought Ward was handsome enough to make it in Hollywood, and sent him to meet with an agent. The agent sent him to audition for a new show based on a comic book, and the neophyte actor -- now calling himself Burt Ward -- landed his first professional role, playing a campy incarnation of Robin the Boy Wonder (a/k/a Dick Grayson) on TV's Batman.
The show was a huge hit in the 1960s, and Ward was perfect, perhaps because he had no experience as an actor to get in the way of his charmingly wooden performance. There was little need for emotional subtlety in the role, opposite Adam West as Batman, fighting celebrity guest stars hamming it up as comic-book villains like The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler, and Catwoman. By Ward's tally, he said "Holy whatever" 370 times as Robin.
After Batman was cancelled, typecasting and lack-of-talent left the former Robin unemployable in Hollywood. He dropped out of sight for years, working at a children's video company and doing occasional cartoon work voicing Robin. It was twenty years after Batman's debut before Ward worked on film or television in a non-Robin role, playing a karate teacher in the low-budget martial arts film Fire in the Night. He has since accumulated a long résumé of low-budget roles, including such little-seen movies as Pacino Is Missing with Joe Dallesandro, Cyber-C.H.I.C. with Lyle Waggoner, and Beach Babes from Beyond with Joey Travolta (John's brother) and Jackie Stallone (Sylvester's mother).
Ward's first wife was Bonney Lindsey, daughter of conductor Mort Lindsey, the man behind the music on 1950s and '60s TV including The Pat Boone-Chevy Showroom and The Merv Griffin Show. His second wife, erstwhile actress Kathy Kersh, delivered sexy sales pitches for Rheingold beer in the 1960s and had previously been married to TV's Ben Casey, Vince Edwards. His third wife was model Mariana Torchia, and in 1990, Ward married his fourth wife, Tracy Posner, daughter and heir of multi-millionaire Victor Posner. The elder Posner made his fortune in post-WWII real estate, was a pioneer in leveraged buyouts, and was involved in numerous financial scandals in his later life, culminating in being barred by the SEC from upper management of any public company. With Posner's money, of course, Ward is set for life.
He now runs Logical Figments, a special effects contractor that provides graphics and animation for commercials and occasional feature films. The Wards also share a fascination with Great Danes, and run Great Dane Adoptions and Rescue from their home. Ward says that about 50 of the dogs live with them at any time, never in cages, and he adopts out about 500 dogs annually.
Ward's self-published autobiography, Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights, recounts numerous sexual escapades from the height of his fame. "When I entered Batman as a naive 20-year-old who had only dated a couple of girls," Ward wrote, "I met Adam West, who immediately introduced me to the wildest sexual debauchery that you can imagine." West has suggested that the book was wildly exaggerated.
Father: Bert John Gervis (ice show operator)
Mother: Marjorie Charlotte Ward Blumenfeld Gervis
Brother: Gavin Gervis (insurance executive)
Sister: Gigi Gervis
Wife: Bonney Lindsey (dated 1963-65, m. 19-Jul-1965, div. 1966, one daughter)
Daughter: Lisa Ward (visual effects technician, b. 1966 with Lindsey)
Wife: Kathy Kersh (actress-model, b. 1942, m. 25-Feb-1967, div. 1968)
Wife: Mariana Daniela Torchia (model, m. 10-Aug-1985, div.)
Wife: Tracy (Posner) Ward (heiress, m. 1990, one daughter)
Daughter: Melody Lane Ward (b. 1991)
High School: Beverly Hills High School, Beverly Hills, CA
University: University of California at Los Angeles (dropped out)
Batman Robin (aka "Dick Grayson", 1966-68)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt (9-Mar-2003) · Himself
Beach Babes from Beyond (16-Dec-1993)
Virgin High (1991) · Dick Murphy
Batman (30-Jul-1966) · Robin
Author of books:
Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights (1993, Logical Figments Books)
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