Kevin Conroy is known as the voice of Batman. He won the hearts of fans with his role as Batman and Bruce Wayne in Batman: The Animated Series from 1992-1996. He continued the role in Batman Beyond as well nearly 60 other productions, including 15 films. Many have argued that the film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is the best Batman movie out there. Conroy even portrayed a live-action version on the The CW’s “Arrowverse” crossover “Crisis on Infinite Earths” during the 2019-2020 season.
I’ve had the honor of being able to interview him on more than one occasion. If you’ve ever seen him at a con or had the chance to talk to him, you know he was one of the nicest guys around. He always treated me (and other members of the press) like he just saw me the other day. His enthusiasm and energy was contagious. There was no way you could walk away from him without having a big smile on your face.
Here’s the last time I got to interview him in 2019 for the DC animated movie Justice League Vs the Fatal Five. You’ll notice he starts messing with George Newbern, the voice of Superman, who was doing an interview next to us.
Here is the information from his released obituary:
“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.”
“Kevin was perfection,” recalled Mark Hamill, who redefined the Joker playing opposite Conroy’s Batman. “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, CT, 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 theatre, keeping him on stage in both New York and at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. The actor received rave reviews for his starring performances in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Public Theater, Eastern Standard on Broadway, Arthur Miller’s The Last Yankee, and in the title role of Hamlet at the 1984 New York Shakespeare Festival. In addition, he performed in films 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 it was his incomparable, nuanced performance as the voice of Batman that put Conroy on the map – and the fans’ radar – when Batman: The Animated Series debuted on September 5, 1992. From that point on, Conroy would forever be linked to the Dark Knight – in TV series like Batman Beyond and Justice League/Justice League Unlimited; films ranging from Batman: the Killing Joke and Batman: Gotham Knight to Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman; and more than two dozen video games.
“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.”
“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 is survived by his husband Vaughn C. Williams, sister Trisha Conroy, and brother Tom Conroy. Memorial services are pending.
It’s a sad day. Kevin was a great guy and will never be forgotten.
I wasn’t fully thinking when I first posted, I actually interviewed Kevin twice during 2019. I also got to talk to him about the Batman Beyond anniversary.
At the end of the interview, he talked about how it was okay for others to take on the role of Batman because no one owns it. I said, “But, you do kind of own it.” The way he responded was priceless. Having time to process this a little, watching this interview actually brought a smile to my face.