Kevin Conroy, a defining voice of Batman, dies at 66


Conroy died Thursday after a battle with cancer, series producer Warner Bros. announced Friday.

Kevin Conroy participates in a Q&A panel at Wizard World on August 24, 2019 in Chicago. Conroy, the prolific voice actor whose deep voice in “Batman: The Animated Series” was for many Batman fans the definitive Caped Crusader sound, died Thursday after a battle with cancer. He was 66 years old. Warner Bros., which produced the series, announced Friday. Photo by Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP, file

NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Conroy, the prolific voice actor whose serious delivery on “Batman: The Animated Series” was for many Batman fans the definitive Caped Crusader sound, has died at 66.

Conroy died Thursday after a battle with cancer, series producer Warner Bros. announced Friday.

Conroy was the voice of Batman in the acclaimed animated series that ran from 1992 to 1996, often acting alongside Mark Hamill’s Joker. Conroy continued as the almost exclusive animated voice of Batman, including some 15 movies, 400 television episodes, and two dozen video games, including the “Batman: Arkham” and “Injustice” franchises.

In Batman’s eight-decade history, no one has played the Dark Knight more.

“For generations he has been the definitive Batman,” Hamill said in a statement. “It was one of those perfect scenarios where they had exactly the right guy for the right part, and the world was a better place for it.”

“He will always be my Batman,” Hamill said.

Conroy’s popularity with fans has made him a sought-after personality on the convention circuit. In the often tumultuous world of DC Comics, Conroy was a mainstay and much loved. In a statement, Warner Bros. Animation said Conroy’s performance “will forever be among the greatest portrayals of the Dark Knight in any medium.”

“Kevin brought a light with him everywhere, whether it was in the recording booth, giving his all or feeding first responders during 9/11 or making sure every fan who waited for him had a moment. with his Batman,” said producer Paul Dini. animated show. “A hero in every sense of the word.”

Born in Westbury, New York, and raised in Westport, Connecticut, Conroy started out as a well-trained stage actor. He attended Juilliard and shared a room with Robin Williams. After graduating, he toured with John Houseman’s acting group, The Acting Company. He performed in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Public Theater and in “Eastern Standard” on Broadway. At the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, California, he performed in “Hamlet.”

The 1980s production of “Eastern Standard,” in which Conroy played a television producer secretly living with AIDS, held special significance for him. Conroy, who was gay, said at the time that he regularly attended the funerals of friends who died of AIDS. He poured out his angst every night on stage.

In 1980, Conroy moved to Los Angeles, began acting on soap operas, and booked guest appearances on such television series as “Cheers”, “Tour of Duty” and “Murphy Brown”. In 1991, when casting director Andrea Romano was looking for her lead actor for “Batman: The Animated Series,” she went through hundreds of auditions before Conroy arrived. He was there on the recommendation of a friend – and was immediately chosen.

Conroy started the role with no comic book experience and as a newbie to voice acting. His Batman was hoarse, brooding and dark. His Bruce Wayne was light and dashing. His inspiration for the contrasting voices, he said, came from the 1930s film, “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” about an English aristocrat who leads a double life.

“It’s so much fun as an actor to bite your teeth,” Conroy told Tthe New York Times in 2016. “Calling it animation doesn’t do it justice. It sounds more like mythology.

As Conroy’s performance evolved over the years, it was sometimes tied to his own life. Conroy described his own father as an alcoholic and said his family fell apart while he was in high school. He channeled those emotions into the 1993 animated film “Mask of the Phantasm,” which revolved around Bruce Wayne’s unresolved issues with his parents.

“Andrea came in after check-in and hugged me,” Conroy said. The Hollywood Reporter in 2018. “Andrea said, ‘I don’t know where you went, but it was a great performance. She knew I was drawing on something.

Conroy is survived by her husband, Vaughn C. Williams, her sister Trisha Conroy and her brother Tom Conroy.

In “Finding Batman,” released earlier this year, Conroy wrote a comic about his unlikely journey with the character and as a gay man in Hollywood.

“I often marveled at how fitting it was for me to land this role,” he wrote. “As a gay boy growing up in the 1950s and 1960s in a devoutly Catholic family, I had become adept at concealing parts of myself.”

The voice that emerged from Conroy for Batman, he said, was one he didn’t recognize – a voice that “seemed to roar from 30 years of frustration, confusion, denial, love, of desire”.

“I felt Batman rising from deep within me.”


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