- Kevin Conroy passed away at age 66 after a short battle with cancer.
- Kevin first voiced Batman/Bruce Wayne on Batman: The Animated Series in 1992.
- His costar – Mark Hamill, who portrayed The Joker on B:TAS – mourned his’ brother.’
For some, the name Batman doesn’t conjure up Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, or any of the other actors who donned the cape and cowl. For many, that honor goes to Kevin Conroy, who voiced Batman and Bruce Wayne on Batman: The Animated Series. Sadly, that voice fell silent with the news on Friday of Kevin’s death at age 66. “It is with profound sadness that I send this to you today: Kevin Conroy, the quintessential voice of Batman, and a dear friend to so many of us, has passed away,” his rep said in a statement given to TV Line. The death came after a short battle with cancer, though an official cause of death wasn’t given.
Kevin’s take on Batman came to define the character for thirty years. The show and character flourished with the nuance and gravitas Kevin gave the Caped Crusader. Mark Hamill, who played The Joker opposite Conroy’s Batman, mourned the loss of his counterpart in a statement released by Warner Bros. “Kevin was perfection,” Hamill said in a statement, per Variety. “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.”
With tributes pouring in for the man who was Batman for a generation, here’s what you need to know.
“I am VENGEANCE. I am THE NIGHT. I AM BATMAN!”
Rest In Peace, Kevin Conroy ❤️
— MovieRankings.net (@LightsCameraPod) November 11, 2022
Kevin Conroy Was An Actor Best Known For Voicing Batman
Born in Westbury, New York, and raised in Westport, Connecticut, Kevin was the youngest of four children. At age 17, he began attending Julliard on a scholarship, where he, at one point, shared an apartment with Robin Williams and Frances Conroy. In 1980, he relocated to the West Coast to begin acting on stage and screen. In 1992, Batman: The Animated Series debuted on Fox, giving the world the first impression of this new take on the iconic comic book character.
“He instantly understood the dynamics, the distinction, between Bruce Wayne and Batman,” Paul Dini, writer, and producer on B:TAS, told The New York Times in 2016.
— tara strong (@tarastrong) November 11, 2022
Conroy’s voice would be associated with Batman for the next three decades. After B:TAS ran from 1992-95, Conroy returned for The New Batman Adventures from 1997-99. He voiced the character on the spin-off series Superman: The Animated Series while also voicing an elderly Bruce Wayne on Batman Beyond (1999-2001). Conroy’s Batman would be on Justice League, Static Shock, Justice League Unlimited, Teen Titans Go!, and more.
Conroy would also voice the character for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, the 1993 theatrical film based off of B:TAS. Conroy would voice Batman for a handful of other films – Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Batman: The Killing Joke, Batman Vs. Robin, just to name a few.
He also voiced the character in Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City video games, as well as the Injustice fighting games
He Had Some On-Screen Roles In Addition To Batman
Before becoming Batman, Conroy appeared on Dynasty as Bart Fallmont in season 6 of the 1980s program. He also appeared in two episodes of Cheers as Darryl Mead, on one episode of Murphy Brown, and one episode of Spenser: For Hire. Kevin also got to play Bruce Wayne/Batman in 2019, during the Batwoman portion of The Arrowverse’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover.
He Had A Rough Childhood
“My family kind of disintegrated,” Kevin told The New York Times in 2016. His father’s alcoholism drove his mother away, and he had to live on his own as a youth. He found his passion for acting in school plays, leading to his successful career.
Thankfully, Conroy was able to find resolution with his parents. “I was able to speak for my father at his funeral and sing for my mother at hers,” he told the Times.
He Was Openly Gay
In 2022, Kevin contributed a story to DC Comics’ Pride series. Following his death, fans shared pages from the story. “I walked in and met the creative team of Bruce Timm, Andrea Romano, Eric Radomski, and others,” wrote Conroy. “They talked me through the characters. Explained how young Bruce Wayne had seen his parents murdered in front of him in Crime Alley. How he formed dual personalities to deal with the agony of his childhood. A mask of confidence to the world…and a private one racked by conflict and wounds. Could I relate to that, they asked.”
Kevin was openly gay and lived through the AIDS crisis of the ’80s. During the latter years of that decade, he finished his stage career with a production of Eastern Standard, a play where a TV producer secretly lives with AIDS. “I went to so many funerals that I felt such a sense of obligation to do it right,” he told the New York Times, adding there were nights where he would break down on stage. “Every night, I would just wail, feeling all the pain. I couldn’t not feel it. It was a scream of, ‘Look what’s happening to us! Help!'”
He Was Grateful For His Work As Batman
“I had no preconceptions about the character,” Kevin said during Vulture’s thorough oral history of B:TAS. “Bruce Timm said, ‘What do you know about Batman?’ And I said, ‘Well, I know the Adam West show from the ’60s.” He said, ‘Oh, no, no, that’s not what we’re doing! Forget that!’ He had to explain to me the Dark Knight legacy and how dark this character was.”
In my mind, only two men have ever defined what it means to be Batman. To know they're both gone now is heartbreaking to say the least. RIP Kevin Conroy & Adam West. pic.twitter.com/fhiI5ml3eP
— Kaelan Ramos (@KaelanRamos) November 11, 2022
Batman brought a sense of financial stability for Kevin Conroy. He saved during his time in Los Angeles, flipped houses on both coasts, and saved his money. He also was open to doing work as the Dark Knight.
“Periodically, some new director will come in and do a Batman project for Warner Bros. and decide that they want to do their own take on the character and hire someone else to do the voice,” he told Vulture. “Ironically, they usually have that actor imitate me, and when I hear it, I always think, ‘Well, why didn’t they just ask me?’ But I am very lucky that, after 25 years, they still come back to me as often as they do.”
“I’ve been really fortunate to have gotten Batman, because he’s a character that’s just evolved,” he told the New York Times. “It’s just been a character where you can ride that wave for  years. Keeping him alive, keeping him from getting just dark and boring and broody, is the challenge.”