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George Barris (1925 - 2015)

Getty Images / Los Angeles Times / Mel Melcon

George Barris (1925 - 2015)

George Barris, who created television's original Batmobile, along with custom vehicles for "The Munsters" and "The Beverly Hillbillies," has died, according to The Associated Press. He was 89.

Barris Kustom Industries spokesman Edward Lozzi says Barris died Thursday, following a lengthy illness.

Barris was still in high school in Northern California when he designed his first fully customized car, a 1936 Ford.


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After Barris formed the hobby club "Kustoms of America," his work got noticed by Hollywood, with producers commissioning him a car for the movie "High School Confidential" in 1958. In the early '60s, Barris opened the shop in North Hollywood out of which he worked until his death.

Over the next 70 years, he would design literally hundreds of cars for television shows, movies, celebrities, heads of state and just regular folks.

But he's arguably known best for creating the Batmobile from the 1960s "Batman" series, a car he adapted from a Futura concept acquired from the Ford Motor Co.

"If you'll remember that pow, bang, wow is going out, throughout his whole script, that gives you an idea of what I had to contend with," Barris said on NPR in 2010. "I said, 'Well, if you're going to make these exciting sounds and all this thing that comes up, I'm going to do the same thing to the car.'"

The Batmobile fetched $4.62 million at auction in 2013.

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