Kevin Conroy – the actor who became Batman for generations of fans when he expressed the Dark Knight in the image Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League cartoons, as well as a plethora of video games, including the Batman Arkham right to vote –has died. He was 66.
The first reports of Conroy’s death came after a short battle with cancer Diane Pershingwho played Poison Ivy opposite Conroy in the legend Batman: The Animated Seriesbefore being confirmed by Warner Bros. Animation.
“Kevin was far more than an actor that I had the pleasure of casting and directing –he was a great friend for 30+ years whose kindness and generous spirit knew no bounds,” said casting director Andrea Romano in a press release provided by Warner Bros.. “Cevin’s warm heart, deep deep smile and true love of life will be with me forever.”
“Kevin was perfection,” said Mark Hamill, the Star wars star who voiced the Joker opposite Batman Conroy. “He was one of my favorite people on the planet, and I loved him like a brother. He really cared about the people around him –his kindness shone in everything he did. Every time I saw him or talked to him, my spirits were lifted. “
Tributes have started pouring in for the actor, including from Batman: The Animated Series writer Paul Dini:
Conroy’s career as an actor began with a role on the soap opera Another World before stopping in the theater in the early 1980s. An odd man out, Conroy’s acting career came hand in hand with the rise of the AIDS epidemic, a subject he wrote about this year. DC Comics Pride issue. After regular roles on TV, including appearance in Dynasty and Tour of DutyConroy would be deeply burned into the hearts of comic book fans and children around the world when he took on the iconic role of Bruce Wayne and Batman in the 1992 Batman: The Animated Series.
Conroy’s duality as the playboy Wayne persona and sad, tormented Batman instantly gave audiences his voice as the definitive interpretation of the Dark Knight, doing it the Batman generation after generation as he continued to express the character in continuity like the film The Mask of the Phantasm as well as the series that followed New Batman game and Batman overas well as other DC animated shows like Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Conroy’s vocal presence and reach has seen him continue to voice the Dark Knight in the decades since. The animated series in a variety of media, including video games such as the Batman: Arkham trilogy, the Injustice fighting games, and much more, as well as several films in the DC animated universe. Conroy even went on to play a live-action version of Bruce Wayne in a crossover episode of the CW DC TV show Crisis on Infinite Earths.
“A mask of confidence to the world, and a private one full of conflict and wounds.” Conroy wrote about Batman’s heritage, and his identity as an out gay man, in his story DC Comics Pride Find Batman, “Could I relate to that, they asked? Was I my public face, or my private face? Had I made too many compromises? My heart broke, I felt my face flush, my breathing became deeper, I began to speak, and a voice that I did not recognize came out. It was a throaty, husky, gurgling sound that shook my body.” And with that strong sound, Conroy defined the voice that came to be the Batman for a legion of fans – and will continue to be, even after his passing.
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