Kevin Conroy, Iconic Voice of Batman, Dies at 66

In the last 30 years, Batman has been played by many people, but the sound of Batman has been defined by one man: Kevin Conroy. He first took on the role of Batman (and Bruce Wayne) in the classic 90s TV series Batman: The Animated Series. He continued to play the character on and off until his death yesterday, after a short battle with cancer. Conroy lived to be only 66 years old.

His death was announced on Facebook by voice actress Diane Pershing. She worked with Conroy on Batman: The Animated Series, where she played Poison Ivy. “He’s been sick for a while, but he really spent a lot of time on the downside, to the delight of all his fans,” she wrote.

The Julliard-trained Conroy (who was Robin Williams’ roommate while the pair both studied there) got his start in theater and television, but the role for which he became famous was his version of Batman. He seemed to capture the very essence of the character, and after Batman: The Animated Series ended, Conroy returned to voice the Dark Knight again and again in shows like Justice League and movies like Superman/Batman: Public Enemiesand in video games such as the hugely popular Arkham Asylum series. Earlier this year, he once again voiced Batman in the Warner Bros. fighting game MultiVersus.

In this interview, Conroy reveals that he didn’t even do that will have to audition to play Batman. He originally thought he would be a better Harvey Bullock because he was the “bigger character.” But then the classically trained actor realized that Batman was essentially a great Greek tragic character. And that was his way of finding his voice.

In tribute, Batman: The Animated Series writer/producer Paul Dini wrote this on Twitter:

In a press release from Warner Bros., Mark Hamill – the voice of the Joker Batman: The Animated Series and Arkham Asylum play opposite Conroy – had this to say about working with him:

Kevin was perfect. He was one of my favorite people on the planet and I loved him like a brother. He truly cared about the people around him – his decency shone through everything he did. Every time I saw him or talked to him, my spirits were lifted… It was one of those perfect scenarios where they got just the right guy for just the right part and the world was better for it. His rhythms and subtleties, tones and delivery – all of that helped inform my performance as well. 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.

Other people want to play Batman in animated TV shows and movies. But for a whole generation – and for many generations to come – Conroy will stay that that character’s voice. He was iconic and indispensable. He will be deeply missed. According to Warner Bros.’ press release, he is survived by his husband Vaughn C. Williams, sister Trisha Conroy and brother Tom Conroy.

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