Actor Kevin Conroy, prolific fan-favorite voice of DC’s Batman in the animated universe, died Thursday at age 66 after a short battle with cancer.
Donning Batman’s mantle, Conroy set unbroken records, voicing the iconic character in nearly 60 different productions, including 15 films, 15 animated series — spanning nearly 400 episodes and more than 100 hours of television — and more than two dozen video games. He also appeared as a live-action Bruce Wayne in the Arrowverse “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event (2019-2020). In recent years, fans could encounter him as a warm, enthusiastic fixture on the Con circuit
“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/dialog director Andrea Romano. “Kevin’s warm heart, delightfully deep laugh and pure love of life will be with me forever.”
Mark Hamill, who redefined the villainous Joker opposite Conroy’s Batman, shared: “Kevin was perfection. 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.”
Born on November 30, 1955 in Westbury, New York, and raised in Westport, Connecticut, Conroy began his actor’s journey 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.
He began his career on the stage, performing in New York and at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre, generating rave reviews for starring roles in in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Public Theater), Eastern Standard (Broadway), Arthur Miller’s The Last Yankee and in the title role of Hamlet at the 1984 New York Shakespeare Festival. He also broke into film and television, most notably in the mid-1980s when he had recurring roles on Dynasty, Tour of Duty and Ohara; successful runs on soap operas Search for Tomorrow and Another World; and guest roles on popular series like Cheers, Murphy Brown, Spenser: For Hire and Matlock.
But Conroy’s legend was set in stone with the premiere of Bruce Timm’s critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series on September 5, 1992, which ran until 1996. From then onward, Conroy would be known as the voice of the Dark Knight across animated television series like Batman Beyond and Justice League/Justice League Unlimited; films ranging from the highly regarded Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman: The Killing Joke and Batman: Gotham Knight to Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman.
“Kevin was a brilliant actor,” said Hamill. “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.”
Batman: The Animated Series producer Paul Dini recalled, “Kevin brought a light with him everywhere, whether in the recording booth giving it his all, or feeding first respondersduring 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.”
A representative for WBA shared the following statement on Conroy’s passing: “Warner Bros. Animation is saddened by the loss of our dear friend Kevin Conroy. His iconic performance of Batman will forever stand among the greatest portrayals of the Dark Knight in any medium. We send our warmest thoughts to his loved ones and join fans around the world in honoring his legacy.”
Conroy is survived by his husband Vaughn C. Williams, sister Trisha Conroy and brother Tom Conroy. Plans for memorial services are pending.
[Source: Gary Miereanu / Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment]