The man behind Batman’s deep voice and the unmistakable growl that distinguished Bruce Wayne from the Caped Crusader, Kevin Conroy passes at 66.
DC Comics confirmed the news as well.
Conroy died on Thursday, after recently being diagnosed with cancer, according to Miereanu.
Conroy’s performance in the character has served as the foundation for every subsequent iteration of Batman in popular culture. He portrayed Wayne and his superhero alter persona on television for many years, especially on the acclaimed “Batman: The Animated Series,” and his impact can be heard in the performances of Christian Bale, Robert Pattinson, and many others who have played the character.
Few performers can claim to have played Batman as frequently as Conroy: he appeared in over 400 episodes of television as the voice – and, at times, embodiment – of the Dark Knight.
Despite not being a fan of comic books, Mr. Conroy landed the title role in “Batman: The Animated Series” after the show’s producers, who were unimpressed with over 500 other actors who auditioned, were transfixed by the “gravitas” that Mr. Conroy brought, according to Alan Burnett, a writer and producer on the series. In 1992, the show debuted on the Fox Kids network.
Kevin Conroy was born on November 30, 1955, in Westbury, New York, on Long Island, and reared in Westport, Connecticut. He was the youngest of four children born to Thomas and Patricia Conroy. He grew up in a strict Irish Catholic home that fragmented when he was 15 years old due to his father’s alcoholism, which pushed his mother away.
He graduated from high school early while living with friends, and he stated he felt most at home onstage in school plays.
He obtained a scholarship to Juilliard at the age of 17, where he began to improve his acting skills. He lived in the same flat as Robin Williams.
According to DC Comics, Mr. Conroy began his career in theater in New York and at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. In the late 1980s, he earned fame in “Eastern Standard,” a comedy with serious implications in which he played a TV producer who was secretly living with AIDS.
Mr. Conroy said he made peace with his parents in their dying years, despite his difficult background.
Mr. Conroy is survived by his wife, a sister, Trisha Conroy, and a brother, Tom.
Mr. Conroy’s devotion to Batman has remained unwavering even in recent years.
In 2019, he starred as Bruce Wayne, Batman’s alter identity, in “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” a five-part live-action crossover event that spanned episodes from numerous CW shows.
And earlier this year, he published his own story, “Finding Batman,” in the anthology DC Pride. In it, he explained how important it was for him to play the Caped Crusader.
Mr. Conroy compared himself to Batman in his ability to conceal aspects of himself. Growing up as the gay son in a devout home was something he eventually began to reckon with during his audition for “Batman: The Animated Series,” he said.
“I began to speak, and a voice I didn’t recognize came out,” he recalled. “It was a throaty, husky, rumbling sound. It seemed to roar from 30 years of frustration, confusion, denial, love, yearning.”
“I felt Batman rising,” he said, “from deep within.”