Famed Batman Actor Passes Away at 66 Years Old
I am actually heartbroken. Very rarely do I actually cry from the passing of a celebrity, but this one hit me really hard. I was shocked the moment that I saw this news.
Kevin Conroy, The Voice of Batman, Passes Away
I don't typically write articles like this for the station, but I felt compelled as soon as I saw the news. Famed voice actor Kevin Conroy has died at 66 years old. The cause of death has not been officially stated; however, he has been ill for sometime. A representative from WB did say he had been battling cancer for some time.
Even if you don't recognize his face, you KNOW his voice. He is the iconic voice behind Batman: The Animated Series. He's become synonymous with the character by returning for many outings including The New Adventures of Batman, Batman Beyond, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and many more television shows and movies. He even made a live action appearance in the CW's Crisis on Infinite Earths special.
For many people of my generation and beyond, Kevin Conroy was Batman. We love all of the live action versions, but there was something about Kevin Conroy's vocal talents that solidified him as the character. He was one of the first incarnations that gave Batman and Bruce Wayne different voices, and truly showed the duality of the man.
I've been meaning to read Conroy's autobiographical "Finding Batman, which was released earlier this year. How crazy is the timing of that release. Perhaps he knew his time was nearly up and knew he needed to get the story out.
"Finding Batman" is amongst a number of short stories released in the one-shot anthology series called DC Pride 2022, which celebrates LGBTQ+ creators and characters. The story goes into Conroy's tragic childhood and experience being a gay actor. He ties it in seamlessly with the story of Batman, how he found his Batman through his own personal struggles. As Bruce Wayne wore a mask as Batman, Conroy talked about masking his sexuality and his pain from others.
They talked me through the character. Explained how young Bruce Wayne had seen his parents murdered in front of him in Crime Alley. How he had formed dual personalities to deal with his childhood. A mask of confidence to the world-and a private one racked by conflict and wounds.
Conroy embodied the character in more ways than one. He took the darkness of his own upbringing and crafted and molded his Batman through it. One thing that made his Batman so good was how empathetic he was. Unlike many iterations of the character, you could tell that Conroy's Batman actually cared for his villains. He wanted to help them, he wanted to reform them because he knew that all it takes is "one bad day." One of the best examples of this compassion comes from an exchange between Batman and Harley Quinn from Batman: The Animated Series:
Harley Quinn : There's one thing I've gotta know. Why'd you stay with me all day? Risking your butt for someone who's never given you anything but trouble?
Batman : I know what it's like to try to rebuild a life.
[He holds up a bag, and gives her the dress she wanted to buy, before getting in so much trouble]
Batman : I had a bad day too, once.
We all have bad days, it's how we decide to walk away from them. Kevin Conroy showed us all what it means to be a hero. He will be dearly missed.