Kevin Conroy, the out actor who voiced Batman on Batman: The Animated Series, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 66.
Batman: The Animated Series originally ran for 85 episodes, airing from 1992-1996 on Fox Kids. Conroy also voiced the iconic comic book character in multiple DC animated movies and video games. He even eventually got to play Bruce Wayne in live-action when he portrayed him in the Arrowverse's Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover on the CW.
"He would establish never-to-be-broken records as the quintessential voice of Batman, bringing the superhero to animated life in nearly 60 different productions, including 15 films – highlighted by the acclaimed Batman: Mask of the Phantasm; 15 animated series, spanning nearly 400 episodes and more than 100 hours of television; as well as two dozen video games," Warner Bros. Discovery said in a press release announcing Conroy's death.
Mark Hamill, who voiced the Joker opposite of Conroy's Batman on The Animated Series said in a statement: “Kevin was perfection. He was one of my favorite people on the planet, and I loved him like a brother. He truly cared for the people around him – his decency shone through everything he did. Every time I saw him or spoke with him, my spirits were elevated.”
Conroy was openly gay, making him the only out actor to portray Batman. He publicly came out in a 2016 interview with the New York Times, where he discussed playing a TV producer who was secretly battling AIDS, in the Broadway play Eastern Standard:
“I went to so many funerals that I felt such a sense of obligation to do it right,” Conroy told the Times, recalling a scene when he was alone onstage. “Every night I would just wail, feeling all the pain. I couldn’t not feel it. It was a scream of, ‘Look what’s happening to us! Help!’”
Even though he was out for years, many fans learned of Conroy's sexuality earlier this year when he penned a story, "Finding Batman," for the DC Pride 2022 annual, about how his experiences as a gay man helped him "find his voice as the Caped Crusader."
“Kevin brought a light with him everywhere,” Paul Dini, producer of Batman: The Animated Series, said in a statement. “Whether in the recording booth giving it his all, or feeding first responders during 9/11, or making sure every fan who ever waited for him had a moment with their Batman. A hero in every sense of the word. Irreplaceable. Eternal.”
Conroy is survived by his husband Vaughn C. Williams, sister Trisha Conroy, and brother Tom Conroy.
Rest in peace.