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Creator / Kevin Conroy

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"My heart pulsed. I felt my face flush, my breath grew deeper, I began to speak, and a voice I didn't recognize came out. It was a throaty, husky, rumbling sound that shook my body. It seemed to roar from thirty years of frustration, confusion, denial, love, yearning... yearning for what? An anchor. A harbor. A sense of safety, a sense of identity. Yes, I can relate. Yes, this is terrain I know well. I felt Batman rising from deep within."
— Conroy on finding his Batman voice, DC Pride 2022

Kevin Conroy (November 30, 1955 – November 10, 2022) was an American actor and voice actor. Becoming a professional actor in the 1970s, Conroy performed in numerous productions over the years, particularly in theatre.

Then it came to pass that he became the goddamn Batman.

Beginning with Batman: The Animated Series, Conroy lent his voice to the iconic character and never looked back. His performances as Batman were often lauded, especially the manner in which he was able to vocally portray Batman and Bruce Wayne as two different people. In later years, he would say that the role of Batman resonated with him deeply as a gay man who had lived in the closet for most of his life, relating Bruce Wayne's struggle to maintain a facade of normalcy with his own struggles being gay in a time when it was not socially acceptable. He would continue to play the role of the Dark Knight every time he appeared in the DC Animated Universe, a continuity which includes the aforementioned Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, Static Shock, The Zeta Project, as well as numerous Batman-related games. Conroy reprised the role in Batman: Gotham Knight, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, the Batman: Arkham Series*, Justice League: Doom, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox*, Injustice: Gods Among Us, DC Universe Online, Batman: Assault on Arkham, Batman: The Killing Joke, Justice League Action, Injustice 2, Teen Titans Go!*, LEGO DC Super-Villains, Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?, MultiVersus, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, and Part Three of Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths. He wrote an autobiographical comic about taking on the role called "Finding Batman" published in DC Pride 2022, posthumously winning an Eisner Award for Best Short Story for it.

It was announced in 2019 that after 27 years, he would play Bruce Wayne in live action, specifically in the Arrowverse's Crisis Crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths, as a retired, parallel Earth version of Bruce drawing inspiration from Batman Beyond and Kingdom Come.

To date, he has portrayed Batman more than any other actor, voice or live-action, to have assumed the role. This is mirrored by Mark Hamill as The Joker, also in many of the above works.

Some of his other roles included Captain Sunshine on The Venture Bros.note , John Grayson on The Batman, Bellicus on Ben 10: Alien Force, and various characters from both Max Payne and Jak and Daxter. His live-action roles include guest shots on two different episodes of Cheers, Captain Lloyd Hamilton on Ohara, and a recurring role as Captain Rusty Wallace on the first season of Tour of Duty.

He was not related to Frances Conroy. However, both of them were members of Juilliard's Drama Division Group 6 (1973–1977) and both have a history with DC Comics adaptations (Batman especially, with Frances playing in Catwoman, All-Star Superman, and Joker).

Conroy passed away from intestinal cancer on November 10, 2022, less than three weeks before his 67th birthday. He is survived by his husband Vaughn C. Williams as well as two siblings.

"I am vengeance, I am the tropes, I AM BATMAN!"

  • Adam Westing: He was willing to lampoon his role as Batman on occasion. Such as in a video by Tim Daly that takes lines from The Dark Knight Returnsnote  and the two actors take their characters' voices over-the-top for comedic effect.
  • Advertised Extra: Although he was listed as a main character on Tour of Duty, his role as Rusty Wallace was quite minimal. Stuck in Hawaii with nothing to do for most of the working week, he eventually got so bored that he set up a beach stand and sold sketch portraits to tourists to keep himself occupied.
  • Casting Gag: Even when he's not playing Batman, his character will have some connection or reference to the Caped Crusader. You'd think The Phantom Stranger wouldn't really be a Batman reference in of itself, but Conroy was directly paired up with his Joker Mark Hamill who plays The Spectre, making it an allusion anyways.
  • I Am Not Spock: Completely and totally averted. He made no secret that he loved playing Batman and would take every opportunity to voice him that he possibly could.
  • Irony As He Is Cast: Considered the voice of notorious "playboy billionaire" Chick Magnet Bruce Wayne/Batman... and later came out as gay. For an extra layer, there's also the historical factoid of Batman having been accused of promoting a homosexual lifestyle.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: He's the spitting image of John Glover, and played his relative on stage. Amusingly, the two even went up against each other in Batman: TAS a few times, since Glover played The Riddler.
  • Serious Business: He wasn't necessarily above saying some (in-character) funny things as Batman or simply in the Batman voice for a laugh, but like Peter Cullen with Optimus Prime, Conroy took the role seriously enough to politely decline reprising the role in direct parodies to keep his tenure as dignified as possible. Hence why in things like Robot Chicken you have Seth Green voicing Batman despite managing to get Mark Hamill to reprise the Joker.
  • Those Two Actors: With his Joker, Mark Hamill. Hamill had such implicit trust in Conroy's artistic integrity that he'd sign on to play the Joker without seeing a script as long as Conroy was lined up to play Batman.
    • Hamill's respect for Conroy's work was also shown after the latter's passing, with Hamill stating that he'd never voice Joker again, not without his Batman.
  • Vocal Evolution: For the first season of Batman: TAS, he used a raspy voice while playing Batman and pitched his voice up while playing Bruce Wayne. He subsequently switched to using a lower, gruff tone for Batman and his regular speaking voice for Bruce Waynenote .
  • What Could Have Been: He was approached to make a second live-action appearance as Bruce Wayne for The CW's Gotham Knights, but his declining health prevented it.note .