Kevin Conroy, the legendary Batman voice actor who rose to prominence in the beloved ‘90s show Batman: The Animated Series and later played the dark knight in the acclaimed Arkham games, has passed away at the age of 66 after a short battle with cancer. The news of Conroy’s passing was announced by castmates this morning on social media, and has been confirmed in a press release from Warner Bros. Discovery.
In the Warner Bros Discovery press release, Mark Hamill, who established his own now-legendary take on the Joker playing opposite Conroy in The Animated Series, said he loved Conroy like a brother because of his ability to lift his spirits anytime the two spoke.
“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 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,” Andrea Romano, Emmy Award-winning casting and dialogue director wrote. “Kevin’s warm heart, delightfully deep laugh and pure love of life will be with me forever.”
For many in the Batman fandom, Conroy was the undisputed voice of the caped crusader. Outside of BTAS, Conroy portrayed the iconic DC Comics hero in numerous cartoon movies and animated spin-offs like Batman Beyond as well as video games like Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham series and NetherRealm’s InJustice titles. He eventually stepped into the suit in a live-action role for the first time with the DC TV show, Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Read More: Becoming Batman Was A Coming Out Of Sorts For Legendary Voice Actor Kevin Conroy
On social media, former colleagues are posting tributes while fans are mourning the actor’s passing by sharing clips and anecdotes that reflect who he was as a person.
Earlier this year, Conroy wrote a powerful short comic about how his journey toward coming out as a gay man helped him find his voice as the caped crusader. In Finding Batman, drawn and colored by artist J. Bone, Conroy recounted struggling with doubts about his own talent early in his career. In the LGBTQ+-themed DC comic, Conroy opened up about the struggles and self-doubt he harbored over his talent early in his career. Growing up in a devout Christian household, watching the ridicule gay men faced in the ‘70s amid the Stonewall riots, experiencing the loss of close friends during the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the ‘80s, and being called slurs by fellow actors in public and private led Conroy to put on a mask of his own, locking away parts of himself from the public eye for many years.
His formative experiences would culminate on the day he was approached by Warner Bros. to audition for the role of Bruce Wayne in BTAS. Despite not knowing anything about the character, Conroy wrote that he felt a kinship with the “mask of confidence” the superhero would often display whilst fighting crime.
“My heart pulsed, I felt my face flush, my breath grew deeper, I began to speak and a voice I didn’t recognize came out. It was a throaty husky rumbling sound that shook my body,” Conroy said. “It seemed to roar from 30 years of frustration, confusion, denial, love, yearning…Yes, I can relate. Yes, this is terrain I know well. I felt Batman rising from deep within.”