Not Just Batman’s Butler: The Autobiography of Alan Napier
By Alan Napier with James Bigwood
In January 1966, Alan Napier became a household name on ABC’s hit series Batman (1966–1968) as Alfred Pennyworth, loyal butler to the show’s title character. This “overnight success” came after 16 years of stage work (and the occasional film) in his native England and 26 years of film and television work (and the occasional play) in the United States.
In the early 1970s, Napier wrote an autobiography, detailing his childhood as a “poor relation” of the famous Birmingham political family the Chamberlains (Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was a cousin), and his collaborations over the years with the likes of John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier, George Bernard Shaw, Noël Coward, Fritz Lang, Otto Preminger and Alfred Hitchcock.
Almost 30 years after Napier’s death, James Bigwood, who first read the manuscript in 1975 when interviewing him for a Films in Review profile, was asked by the actor’s daughter to arrange for its publication.
This is Alan Napier’s story in his own words, annotated and updated, with dozens of rare photographs.