Batman: The Animated Series–Kevin Conroy, Voice of Batman, Dies at 66

The voice actor played the Dark Knight for 30 years, beginning with Batman: The Animated Series.

Kevin Conroy, the prolific voice actor who defined Batman for generations, has died. He was 66. The actor died Thursday, Warner announced.

Conroy voice starred in the acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series from 1992-96, and continued on with the role through nearly 60 different productions spanning 15 films and 400 episodes of television as well as video games. In recent years, he was a fixture on the comic convention circuit.

“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 casting and 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 Hamill. “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 was born November 30, 1955 in Westbury, New York, and grew up in in Westport, Connecticut. He studied acting at Julliard alongside noteworthy actors such as Christopher Reeve and was roommates with Robin Williams. He went on to pursie work on stage before landing roles in the 1980s on TV series such as DynastyTour of Duty and Ohara. He also appeared on soaps Search for Tomorrow and Another World and had guest spots on CheersMurphy BrownSpenser: For Hire and Matlock.

In 1992 the trajectory of his life and career changed forever when Batman: The Animated Series debuted on September 5.

“I remember Mark and I were at the sound studio to do ADR work and we got to watch the opening credits,” Conroy said in 2017. “We hear the opening theme with the strings and the lush colors. It was incredibly dramatic. And I looked at Mark and said, ‘Did you have a clue this is what we were doing?’ He said, ‘No, I’m blown away!’ We both felt we were a part of something really special.”

The series still resonated 30 years later, with J.J. Abrams and The Batman filmmaker Matt Reeves teaming up with Batman: The Animated Series’ Bruce Timm for new take called The Caped Crusader, though it is unknown if Conroy was to be involved.

Over the decades, multiple actors have put their stamps on Batman’s voice, with Michael Keaton, Christian Bale and Ben Affleck in particular getting both praise and parody for their live-action takes. For Conroy, finding the voice was both a challenge and a choice that defined his legacy.

“Early on, I said, ‘This is the most famous and powerful guy in Gotham. Are you telling me he just puts on a mask and no one knows it’s him? Seriously? There’s got to be more to the disguise,’” Conroy said in 2017. “My template for the two voices was the 1930s film The Scarlet Pimpernel. I played Bruce Wayne as sort of a humorous playboy to counteract the brooding nature of Batman.”

Among the crowning moments of his career as Batman was the 1993 animated feature Mask of the Phantasm, which he counted as his favorite. It dealt with Bruce Wayne’s unresolved feelings towards his late parents, something Conroy would later say he could relate to given his own tumultuous relationship with his father.

“Andrea came in after the recording and grabbed me in a hug,” Conroy said in 2018 of voicing a particularly wrenching scene. “Andrea said, ‘I don’t know where you went emotionally, but it was a beautiful performance.’ She knew I was drawing on something.”