Kevin Conroy, the man behind the voice of Batman, has died at age sixty-six from cancer. The iconic American actor worked for Warner Bros. on Batman: The Animated Series, one of its longest running shows.
Initially aired in 1992 on Fox Kids, it ran for eighty-five episodes with Conroy’s raspy, throaty voice. His personification of the vigilante hero led to fame, success, and critical acclaim.
The man behind the comic icon
Kevin Conroy was born in Westbury, New York in 1955 on November 30th. He was the son of Irish Catholic parents with whom he moved to Connecticut when he was eleven.
In 1973, the drama division of Julliard, one of the most exclusive schools for the arts in the United States, accepted the voice-over professional. He then began touring in theater and in 1980 moved to California to try television. He ended up acting in theater once more until 1985, when he acted in the television movie The Covenant.
From 1985 to 1992, Conroy appeared in a number of movies and television shows. It was in 1992 that his voice-over career began when he took on the role of Batman—first for Batman: The Animated Series, which ran from 1992 until 1995. He then reprised the role from 1995 until 1999 on The New Batman Adventures and from 1995 until 2001 on Batman Beyond.
Kevin Conroy also lent his vocal cords to such iconic films as The Justice League, The Justice League Unlimited and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman followed by many more. His last, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, premiered this year.
One thing that made the famous actor stand out was his openness about being gay. It was particularly difficult for Conroy, as homophobia was rampant in the United States at the time. He also lived during the AIDS crisis, which took many of his friends.
As he once said in speaking to The New York Times, “I went to so many funerals that I felt such a sense of obligation to portray the character of a TV producer secretly living with AIDS in Eastern Standard.”
Even today, bi-sexual characters portrayed in comics, animated films, and Hollywood movies still sometimes cause shock and outrage in the U.S.
A Hollywood tribute
Audiences do not normally know the voice actors who personify animated characters unless they are in films themselves. Conroy was a hero in his own right, however, both in the world of animation and to his fans.
Mark Hamill, whose voice also featured in the comic series, told Variety magazine that “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.”
Conroy portrayed other comic characters in video games as well, such as in Arkham Knight, Batman in Arkham Origins and Batman: Arkham Knight.
According to BBC, DC comics stated that they were “deeply saddened” at hearing of his death.
“The VoiceOver community lost one of the greats [and] I am completely devastated as I worked with him for over 25 years,” Steven Niebert, his agent, told the English network.
According to the news channel, casting director Andrea Romano described him as a “dear friend,” too.
Romano declared that “Kevin’s warm heart, delightfully deep laugh and pure love of life will be with me forever.”