Kevin Conroy
Kevin Conroy (51383606537).jpg
Conroy at the 2021 GalaxyCon Raleigh
Born(1955-11-30)November 30, 1955[1]
DiedNovember 10, 2022(2022-11-10) (aged 66)
New York City, U.S.
EducationJuilliard School (BFA)
OccupationActor
Years active1978–2022
SpouseVaughn C. Williams
Websiterealkevinconroy.com
Signature
Signature of Kevin Conroy.png

Kevin Conroy (November 30, 1955 – November 10, 2022) was an American actor. Though he appeared in various stage performances, television series, and television films, he earned worldwide fame for his voice portrayal of the DC Comics superhero Batman in various animated media, beginning with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992.[2][3] Conroy went on to voice the character for multiple animated TV series, feature films, and video games over the next three decades.

Early life

Conroy was born on November 30, 1955, in Westbury, New York,[1] into an Irish Catholic family. He moved to Westport, Connecticut, when he was about 11 years old. He had three older siblings.[4]

Due to the tumultuous environment in his home, Conroy lived with a family friend during his last year of high school. Conroy's father was an alcoholic and once attempted suicide while Conroy was in high school. In adulthood Conroy was estranged from his father for many years but reconciled shortly before his father's death. Conroy was at both his mother and his father's side when they died.[5]

Conroy moved to New York City in 1973 when he earned a full scholarship to attend the Juilliard School's drama division, studying under actor John Houseman. While there, he roomed with Robin Williams, who was in the same group as both Conroy and Kelsey Grammer.[6] After graduating from Juilliard in 1978, he toured with Houseman's acting group The Acting Company, and the following year he went on the national tour of Ira Levin's Deathtrap.[7][4] Conroy and his co-star Brian Bedford did not get along, and got into an on-stage brawl during the opening night performance of Deathtrap at the Kennedy Center.[5]

Career

Theatre

In 1980, after playing the role of Jerry Grove in the New York-based daytime soap opera Another World, Conroy moved out to California to pursue further work in television. Conroy became associated with the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California, where he performed in productions of Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream. From 1980 to 1985, he acted in a variety of contemporary and classic theater pieces, including the Broadway productions of Edward Albee's adaptation of Lolita and Eastern Standard. He told The New York Times that, as a gay man living in New York in the time of the AIDS epidemic, he "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.[4]

Film and television

Conroy returned to television in the 1985 TV movie Covenant and had a role on another daytime soap drama, Search for Tomorrow. Conroy played gay lawyer Bart Fallmont on Dynasty from 1985 to 1986.[8] He was a series regular on Ohara in 1987, and as the company commander on Tour of Duty from 1987 to 1988, before starring in a series of television movies. Though initially cast as one of the show's main characters, his role on the show was reduced while it filmed in Hawaii and he ended up spending much of his time making portraits of tourists on the Honolulu boardwalk. Conroy also guest starred on shows such as Cheers, Search for Tomorrow, Matlock and Murphy Brown.[9]

Voice acting

Conroy speaking at the 2017 Phoenix Comicon
Conroy speaking at the 2017 Phoenix Comicon

As a voice actor, Conroy is best known for his starring role as Bruce Wayne / Batman in the acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995).[10][11] He continued to voice Batman in various animated spin-off productions, which collectively took place in what is known as the DC Animated Universe (DCAU). These spin-offs include the TV shows The New Batman Adventures (1997–1999), Batman Beyond (1999–2001, in which he portrays an elderly Bruce Wayne retired from crimefighting), Justice League (2001–2004), and Justice League Unlimited (2004–2006), as well as the theatrical film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993),[12][13] and the direct-to-video films Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998), Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000), and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003). He also voiced Batman for the character's guest appearances in the DCAU's Superman: The Animated Series, Static Shock and The Zeta Project.[14]

I often marveled at how appropriate it was that I should land this role. As a gay boy growing up in the 1950's and 60's in a devoutly Catholic family, I'd grown adept at concealing parts of myself. Of putting aspects of myself in a separate box and locking it away.

—Kevin Conroy, from his autobiographical comic Finding Batman[15]

Conroy is distinguished for being the first voice actor to use two distinct voices to portray Bruce Wayne and Batman, which Michael Keaton had previously done in Tim Burton's live-action Batman films.[7] However, Conroy based his dual-voice performance on Leslie Howard in 1934's The Scarlet Pimpernel.[16] Conroy went on to voice Batman in the direct-to-video DC Universe Animated Original Movies: Batman: Gotham Knight (2008), Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009), Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010), Justice League: Doom (2012), Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013), Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014), Batman: The Killing Joke (2016), Batman and Harley Quinn (2017), and Justice League vs. the Fatal Five (2019).[9][17][18] In a tally of the actor's performances that include his every episode and movie portrayal of Batman in live-action and animation, Conroy portrayed the character longer than any other actor. The previous record-holder was Olan Soule, who voiced Batman in various animated works between the late 1960s and early 1980s (including Super Friends).

After the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City, Conroy participated in relief efforts by volunteering to cook for police officers and firefighters. During an audio commentary on Batman: Gotham Knight, Conroy expressed his surprise at the reaction of the emergency service workers to his presence. At the behest of another cook, Conroy called out from the kitchen to the dining area in his "Batman voice", reciting the iconic line, "I am vengeance! I am the night! I am Batman!" (from the BTAS episode "Nothing to Fear"[19]). This was greeted by cheers and applause from emergency service personnel, many of whom had been fans of Batman: The Animated Series during its airing in the 1990s. Conroy confessed to being humbled and deeply flattered by the reaction.[20]

Conroy, at right, doing a table read with the voice cast and crew of Batman: The Animated Series at the 2019 East Coast Comicon in Secaucus, New Jersey
Conroy, at right, doing a table read with the voice cast and crew of Batman: The Animated Series at the 2019 East Coast Comicon in Secaucus, New Jersey

In preparation for the theatrical release of the 2012 live-action film The Dark Knight Rises, Conroy re-dubbed Christian Bale's Batman lines for an animated version of one of the film's trailers.[21]

Conroy also voiced Batman for multiple video games, including the Batman: Arkham series. Following the release of Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) and Batman: Arkham City (2011), he stated at the 2013 Dallas Comic Con that he had been working on "the next Arkham", leading to rampant speculation that he would reprise his role in Batman: Arkham Origins. In June 2013, however, it was confirmed that Conroy would not be involved in Arkham Origins, meaning Conroy may had been referring to a yet-unannounced game from the Arkham series.[22] He would ultimately reprise the role for the fourth game in the series, titled Batman: Arkham Knight (2015).[23]

He confirmed on Twitter in October 2013 that he had filmed a role on Tim Daly's web series The Daly Show,[24] where Conroy parodied his role as Batman in a fight with Daly parodying Superman (whom Daly previously voiced in Superman: The Animated Series).[25]

Conroy portrayed Bruce Wayne of Earth-99 in live-action in the Batwoman episode of Arrowverse crossover "Crisis on Infinite Earths". This was his only live-action portrayal of the character.[26]

Mark Hamill, Conroy's frequent voice actor co-star as the Joker, spoke highly of working with Conroy. Regarding his willingness to be involved in a Batman-related project, Hamill says, "When they offer me roles now, I say, 'Is Kevin doing it?' ... I don't even have to read the script, if Kevin's doing it I'll do it."[27]

Personal life

In a 2016 interview with The New York Times promoting the animated adaptation of The Killing Joke, Conroy revealed that he was gay.[4] As part of DC Comics' 2022 Pride anthology, Conroy wrote "Finding Batman", a story that recounted his life and experiences as a gay man. It received critical acclaim upon release.[28] He was married to Vaughn C. Williams at the time of his death.[29][30]

Conroy made an effort to conceal his homosexuality throughout most of his career. He spoke in "Finding Batman" about the discrimination he faced once potential collaborators and employers found out about his homosexuality. Conroy said that on multiple occasions he had been removed from consideration for acting jobs due to his sexual orientation.[31][32]

Conroy made frequent appearances at comic book conventions; his last convention was in Connecticut in July 2022.[33]

Death

Conroy died at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City from colorectal cancer on November 10, 2022, at age 66. He did not publicly disclose that he was ill.[34] Conroy's death was announced in a press release issued by Warner Bros. Discovery.[35]

Conroy's death quickly became international news. The entertainment world, friends, and fans responded to his death through social and other media outlets.[36] People who paid tribute to him included Mark Hamill,[37] Tim Daly,[38] Dana Delany,[39] Susan Eisenberg,[40] Tara Strong,[37] Matthew Mercer,[41] Steve Blum,[42] Andrea Romano,[37] Paul Dini,[37] Diane Pershing[37][43] George Takei,[44] Lynda Carter,[44] and James Gunn.[45] DC Comics also released a statement and gave free online access to "Finding Batman" as a way to honor Conroy.[46]

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1992 Chain of Desire Joe [47]
1993 Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Bruce Wayne / Batman (voice) [14]
1998 Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero Direct-to-video[14]
2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
2003 Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman
2005 The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence Direct-to-video
Short film[48]
2008 Batman: Gotham Knight Direct-to-video[14]
2009 Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
2010 Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
2012 Justice League: Doom
2013 Jay & Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie! The Mayor of Red Bank (voice) [49]
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Bruce Wayne / Batman (voice) Direct-to-video[14]
Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics Himself[50][51] Documentary
I Know That Voice
2014 Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives Narrator (voice) Documentary[52]
Alfred Alfred Short film
Batman: Assault on Arkham Bruce Wayne / Batman (voice) [14]
2015 Batman vs. Robin Thomas Wayne (voice) Direct-to-video[53]
2016 Batman: The Killing Joke Bruce Wayne / Batman (voice) [14]
Yoga Hosers Canadian Bat, Man! [54]
2017 Batman and Harley Quinn Bruce Wayne / Batman (voice) Direct-to-video[14]
2019 Justice League vs. the Fatal Five

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1978 How to Pick Up Girls! Bartender Television film[55]
1980 Another World Jerry Grove Recurring role[36]
1982 Born Beautiful Stan [56][57] Television film
A Midsummer Night's Dream Lysander[58]
1983 A Fine Romance Phil [59]
Kennedy Ted Kennedy Miniseries[60]
1984 George Washington John Laurens 1 episode[61]
1984–85 Search for Tomorrow Chase Kendall 79 episodes[36]
1985 Covenant Stephen Television film[62][63]
1985–86 Dynasty Bart Fallmont Recurring role; season 6[49]
1986 Matlock Clark Harrison Episode: "The Affair"[49]
Kay O'Brien David Episode: "Princess of the City"
Spenser: For Hire Gallagher Episode: "Shadowsight"[64]
1987 Ohara Captain Lloyd Hamilton Main role; season 1[49]
1987–88 Tour of Duty Captain Rusty Wallace Recurring role; season 1[49]
1988 Killer Instinct Dr. Steven Nelson Television film[65]
1990 So Proudly We Hail Francis Crosby Television film[66]
1989–90 Cheers Darryl Mead 2 episodes[67]
1990 The Face of Fear Frank Dwight Bollinger Television film[68]
WIOU Lenny Lubinsky Episode: "Pilot"[69]
1991 Murphy Brown Roger Harris Episode: "Terror on the 17th Floor"[67]
Hi Honey – I'm Dead Brad Stadler Television film[70]
1992 Rachel Gunn, R.N. Dr. David Dunkle Main role[71]
The Secret Passion of Robert Clayton Hunter Roy Evans Television film[72]
Battle in the Erogenous Zone Mondo Ray Television short[73]
1992–95 Batman: The Animated Series Bruce Wayne / Batman, Additional voices Main role[14]
1994 Island City Colonel Tom Valdoon Television film[74]
1994 The New Adventures of Captain Planet Army Corps of Engineers Official (voice) Episode: "Jail House Flock"[67]
1995 The Office Steve Gilman Main role[68]
1996 The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest Hardman (voice) Episode: "Manhattan Maneater"[67]
1997–99 The New Batman Adventures Bruce Wayne / Batman, Henchman (voices) Main role[14]
Superman: The Animated Series Bruce Wayne / Batman (voice) Recurring role[14]
1999–2001 Batman Beyond Bruce Wayne / Batman, Stage Batman (voices) Main role[14]
2001 The Zeta Project Bruce Wayne (voice) Episode: "Shadows"[14]
2001–04 Justice League Bruce Wayne / Batman, Additional voices Main role[14]
2002–04 Static Shock Bruce Wayne / Batman (voice) 5 episodes[14]
2004–06 Justice League Unlimited Bruce Wayne / Batman, Joe Chill (voices) Main role[14]
2006 The Batman John Grayson (voice) Episode: "A Matter of Family"[14]
2008 Ben 10: Alien Force Bellicus (of Alien X), Warrior #2 (voices) Episode: "X = Ben + 2"[14]
2009, 2013 The Venture Bros. Captain Sunshine (voice) 2 episodes[67]
2010 Batman: The Brave and the Bold Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, Phantom Stranger (voices) 2 episodes[14]
2013 DC Nation Shorts: Tales of Metropolis Bruce Wayne / Batman (voice) Episode: "Lois Lane"[75]
2014 DC Nation Shorts: Batman Beyond Television short[76]
DC Nation Shorts: Batman: Strange Days Television short [77]
DC Nation Shorts: Shazam! Zeus (voice) Episode: "Wisdom"[78]
2015 Turbo Fast Stinger (voice) Episode: "The Sting of Injustice"[14]
2016–18 Justice League Action Bruce Wayne / Batman (voice) Main role [14]
2018 Teen Titans Go! Episode: "Real Orangins"[14]
2019 Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? Episode: "What a Night, For a Dark Knight!"[79]
Welcome to the Wayne Prismal (voice) 7 episodes[14]
Batwoman Bruce Wayne (Earth-99) Episode: "Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part Two"[80]
Crisis Aftermath Himself Guest[81]
2021 Masters of the Universe: Revelation Mer-Man (voice) Episode: "The Most Dangerous Man in Eternia"[82]
2022 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Hordak (voice) Episode: "The End of the Beginning (Part 2 of 2)"[83]

Video games

Year Title Voice role Notes
1994 The Adventures of Batman & Robin Bruce Wayne / Batman Sega CD version[84]
1999 Crusaders of Might and Magic Drake [85]
2001 Batman: Vengeance Bruce Wayne / Batman [14]
2001 Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy Fisherman [14]
2003 Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne Lord Jack, Cleaner, Commando [49]
2003 Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu Bruce Wayne / Batman [14]
Lords of EverQuest Lord Palasa [49]
2009 Batman: Arkham Asylum Bruce Wayne / Batman, Thomas Wayne [14]
2011 DC Universe Online Bruce Wayne / Batman [14]
Batman: Arkham City Bruce Wayne / Batman, Thomas Elliot / Hush [86]
Batman: Arkham City Lockdown Bruce Wayne / Batman [87]
2013 Injustice: Gods Among Us [88]
2015 Infinite Crisis [89][90]
Batman: Arkham Knight Bruce Wayne / Batman, Thomas Elliot / Hush [91]
2016 Batman: Arkham Underworld Bruce Wayne / Batman [92]
View-Master Batman Animated VR Bruce Wayne / Batman [14]
Batman: Arkham VR Bruce Wayne / Batman, Thomas Wayne [14]
2017 Injustice 2 Bruce Wayne / Batman [14]
2018 Lego DC Super-Villains [14]
2022 MultiVersus [93]

Web

Year Title Role Notes
2023 Ollie & Scoops The Creature (voice) Final role[94]
Posthumous release

Theatre

Year Title Role Notes
1980 Hamlet Performer Old Globe Theatre[95]
1981 Lolita Performer Broadway[96]
1982 A Midsummer Night's Dream Performer Old Globe Theatre[97]
1989 Eastern Standard Peter Kidde Broadway[34]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2001 Annie Award Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Male Performer in an Animated Television Production Batman Beyond, "Out of the Past" Nominated [98][99]
2015 Play Legit's Best Best Actor Batman: Arkham Knight Won [100]

References

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Preceded byAdam West Voice of Batman 1992–2006 Succeeded byRino Romano Preceded byJeremy Sisto Voice of Batman 2008–2022 Succeeded byVarious Others (concurrent)