The quintessential Batman voice actor since the 1990s, Kevin Conroy, has passed away at the age of 66.
To many fans of the Dark Knight Detective, Kevin Conroy is the definitive voice of Batman. Conroy’s nuanced portrayal helped the success of the animated series, including winning a Primetime Emmy. To this day, most fans of the superhero genre consider Batman: The Animated Series as the greatest interpretation outside of comic books.
The passing of Kevin Conroy was announced by his representative Gary Miereanu and Warner Bros. Although it was not specifically disclosed, the actor had been reportedly dealing with the effects of cancer for some time.
Warner Bros. 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. We send our warmest thoughts to his loved ones and join fans around the world in honoring his legacy. pic.twitter.com/Xz2ZRVh4tZ
— Warner Bros. TV (@warnerbrostv) November 11, 2022
Warner Bros. issued a statement regarding the sad loss of Conroy’s great talent and genuine love for the fans:
Warner Bros. Animation is saddened by the loss of our dear friend Kevin Conroy. His iconic portrayal 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.
It was in Batman: The Animated Series that Kevin Conroy truly became a household name. From 1992 to 1995 of the cartoon’s 4 seasons and 85 episodes, Kevin Conroy’s voice had become synonymous as the definitive Batman. Interestingly, Conroy is the first actor to use two distinct voices in animation to separate Bruce Wayne from Batman. According to Conroy himself, he was inspired to do so by the performance of Michael Keaton in the Batman 1989 movie.
Naturally, he was the Batman’s voice for the continuation of Batman: The Animated series in The New Batman Adventures (1992), as well as the direct-to-video movies Mask of the Phantasm (1993), SubZero (1998), and Mystery of the Batwoman (2003). The actor would also reprise his role in Batman Beyond (1999) and the subsequent direct-to-video film Return of the Joker (2000).
Kevin Conroy also reprised his role as Batman for guest shots in other DC animated shows such as Superman: The Animated Series (1996), Static Shock (2000), Justice League (2001), and Justice League Unlimited (2004). He would also return for Cartoon Network’s Justice League Action (2016), which were a separate continuity of animated shorts, rather than full episodes. Many of the animated movies also employed Conroy to return as Batman, such as in Gotham Knight (2008), Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009), Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010), Justice League: Doom (2012), Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013), Assault on Arkham (2014), and Justice League vs. the Fatal Five (2019).
Conroy was also tapped to lend his voice talents for Batman in video games. He provided his Batman voice for The Adventures of Batman & Robin for the SNES and Sega Genesis (1995), Rise of Sin Tzu (2003), the Arkham Asylum series from Rocksteady Studios (2009 to 2015), DC Universe Online (2011), NetherRealm Studios' Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013) and its sequel Injustice 2 (2017), and most recently, MultiVersus.
He was finally able to appear in live action as a version of Bruce Wayne in the CW’s version of the Crisis on Infinite Earth. In a crossover episode of the Batwoman TV series, Conroy played an older Wayne, whose war on crime has led to his body being ravaged by injuries and must wear an exoskeleton, similar to the comic book counterpart in Kingdom Come.
Fans, friends, and colleagues shared their grief over the passing of Kevin Conroy. DC Comics, Warner Bros., and other companies that Conroy provided his voice for Batman also paid tribute to the iconic voice actor.
Thank you. 🦇❤️ pic.twitter.com/hB4XUy8Gw1
— Batman (@Batman) November 11, 2022
— Tim Daly (@TimmyDaly) November 11, 2022
Warner Bros. Games is devastated by the passing of Kevin Conroy, the iconic voice of Batman in many of our game franchises, including Batman Arkham, Injustice, LEGO DC games, MultiVersus and many more.
— Warner Bros. Games (@wbgames) November 11, 2022
So sad to hear about Kevin Conroy. He was THE voice of Batman for generations, including our INJUSTICE games.
So iconic. What a loss. RIP 🙁 pic.twitter.com/JpgRwIGDAh
— Ed Boon (@noobde) November 11, 2022
Perhaps the most poignant tribute is that of Mark Hamill (Star Wars). Like Conroy, many consider Hamill as the most iconic voice of The Joker. The two have worked together on nearly all of the Paul Dini/Bruce Timm DC animated series and spinoffs in other media since the 1990s.
— Mark Hamill (@MarkHamill) November 11, 2022
Kevin Conroy shared an emotional and personal story for 2022’s DC Pride Month comic anthology. In it, the iconic voice actor told the tale of how coming out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community helped him find his voice as Bruce Wayne and his alter ego Batman. Conroy described the experience thus:
It seemed to roar from thirty years of frustration, confusion, denial, love, yearning... yearning for what? An anchor, a harbor, a sense of safety, a sense of identity. Yes, I can relate. This is terrain I know well. I felt Batman rising from deep within.
Illustrated by J. Bone and lettered by Aditya Bidikar, DC Comics has made the comic book anthology available for free online in honor of Kevin Conroy’s legacy.
One of the last projects that Kevin Conroy worked on is the now-cancelled Batman: Caped Crusader for HBO Max. Originally planned as a back-to-basics version of Batman, it would go into the early years of the Dark Knight as a masked vigilante. Intended for a 2023 release, Batman: Caped Crusader was produced by J.J. Abrams, Ed Brubaker, Matt Reeves, Bruce Timm, and James Tucker. However, after the cancellation of the HBO Max exclusive Batgirl, Batman: Caped Crusader was also cancelled as Warner Bros. Discovery continued its overhaul of the DC Comics IPs.
According to reports, Batman: Caped Crusader was going to be shopped to other potential platforms such as Amazon and Netflix. But with the loss of Kevin Conroy as the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman, the future of this new animated series is currently uncertain.
Batman: The Animated Series and its spinoffs are currently available on HBO Max (HBO Go in non-U.S. regions). They are also available through Amazon Instant Video, Apple iTunes, Google Play, and Vudu.