Actor Kevin Conroy, best known as the voice of Batman in numerous projects for the past 30 years, died Nov. 10 from cancer at the age of 66.
Conroy began voicing the Caped Crusader with the debut of “Batman: The Animated Series” in 1992 and would go on to play the superhero in nearly 60 different productions spanning 15 animated series, 15 movies and two dozen video games, accounting for nearly 400 episodes and 100 hours of television.
Born Nov. 30, 1955 in Westbury, NY, and raised in Westport, Conn., Conroy began establishing himself in the acting community while under the tutelage of John Houseman at The Julliard School — where he studied alongside the likes of Christopher Reeve, Frances Conroy, and his roommate Robin Williams.
Conroy began his career following his love of the theater, keeping him on stage in both New York and at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego.
“Batman: The Animated Series” would last for three seasons, but also spawned the acclaimed theatrical film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm in 1993, as well as direct-to-video spinoffs such as 1998’s Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero and 2003’s Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman.
“Kevin was far more than an actor whom I had the pleasure of casting and directing — he was a dear friend for 30+ years whose kindness and generous spirit knew no boundaries,” said Emmy Award winning casting/dialogue director Andrea Romano. “Kevin’s warm heart, delightfully deep laugh and pure love of life will be with me forever.”
The series also gave rise to a franchise of animated shows based on DC Comics heroes in which he continued to voice Batman, including “Superman: The Animated Series,” “Justice League,” “Justice League Unlimited,” “Static Shock” and “The Zeta Project.” He also voiced the older Bruce Wayne in “Batman Beyond,” yet another entry in the DC animated franchise, which also had a direct-to-video movie, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
“Kevin brought a light with him everywhere,” said Paul Dini, producer of “Batman: The Animated Series.” “Whether in the recording booth giving it his all, or feeding first responders during 9/11, or making sure every fan who ever waited for him had a moment with their Batman. A hero in every sense of the word. Irreplaceable. Eternal.”
Conroy later voiced Batman in several releases from the DC Universe line of animated movies, including 2008’s “Batman: Gotham Knight,” a tie-in to the theatrical release of The Dark Knight; the “Superman/Batman” movies Public Enemies in 2009 and Apocalypse in 2010; 2012’s Justice League: Doom; 2013’s Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox; 2014’s Batman: Assault on Arkham, a Suicide Squad movie; and 2016’s Batman: The Killing Joke. The DC Universe franchise also revisited the earlier DC animated series continuity with 2017’s Batman and Harley Quinn and 2019’s Justice League vs. The Fatal Five. He also voiced Batman in episodes of “Teen Titans Go!,” “Justice League Action” and “Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?.”
In 2019 he played a live-action version of Bruce Wayne in an alternate reality for the CW’s Arrowverse crossover event “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” during what was technically an episode of “Batwoman.”
His video game work included 2001’s Batman: Vengeance, the “Arkham” and “Injustice” franchises, Lego DC Super-Villains, and 2022’s MultiVersus, his final performance as the character.
His role as Batman also made him a popular fixture on the convention circuit.
“Kevin was perfection,” said Mark Hamill, who played the Joker opposite Conroy’s Batman on “Batman: The Animated Series” and The Killing Joke. “He was one of my favorite people on the planet, and I loved him like a brother. He truly cared for the people around him — his decency shone through everything he did. Every time I saw him or spoke with him, my spirits were elevated.”
His non-Batman work included a two-episode stint on “Cheers,” guest appearances on shows such as “Murphy Brown” and “Dynasty,” and voice roles including “The New Adventures of Captain Planet,” “The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest,” “Ben 10: Alien Force,” “The Venture Bros.” and “Masters of the Universe: Revelation.”
“Kevin was a brilliant actor,” Hamill said. “For several generations, he has been the definitive Batman. It was one of those perfect scenarios where they got the exact right guy for the exact right part, and the world was better for it. His rhythms and subtleties, tones and delivery — that all also helped inform my performance. He was the ideal partner — it was such a complementary, creative experience. I couldn’t have done it without him. He will always be my Batman.”