Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman, passed away this Thursday at the age of 66. He suffered from intestinal cancer, and his death was confirmed by his husband Vaughn C. Williams. For three decades, the actor lent his voice to the iconic superhero of Batman, whom fans have loved and cherished.
It is devastating news to never hear Conroy’s voice again. He was a TV and stage actor who worked hard in the 80s before finally bagging the role in Batman: The Animated Series in 1992. Interestingly, he played the character longer than any actor who took the role in movies.
Kevin Conroy Shared The Struggles Of Gay Actors In Hollywood
Conroy was one of the few gay celebrities who toiled in the superhero industry. He was open about his sexuality but maintained professionalism when it came to working. Not to say he never took any gay roles because he did so in his early career. On Broadway, he played a gay character with AIDS, and another on television.
In his autobiography, Finding Batman, he shared the experiences of a gay actor who dreamed of venturing into an industry that looks down on gays and refuses to give them lead roles. It is amusing to think Conroy’s raspy and rumbling voice, which he used on Batman, “seemed to roar from 30 years of frustration, confusion, denial, love, yearning…”
The actor loved voicing Batman, which became the definitive character of the hero. In fact, Conroy worked on almost 60 different Batman projects – 15 films, 15 animated series with almost 400 episodes, and a dozen video games.
He told The New York Times in his 2016 interview:
“I’ve been really fortunate to have gotten Batman because he’s a character that’s just evolved. It’s just been a character where you can ride that wave for 24 years. Keeping him alive, keeping him from getting just dark and boring and broody, is the challenge.”
Mark Hamill, who played opposite Conroy as Joker, admired the actor for his talent and said he was a joy to work with. He said that he loves Conroy like a brother.
The success of Kevin Conroy did not happen overnight. As a gay actor, he had a lot of difficulties getting jobs. In the 80s, he was close to landing a lead role in a buddy-cop show until the producer discovered he was gay. The worst thing about this incident was them telling the actor that no one would hire him because of his sexuality.
As a tribute to Conroy and his unparalleled service, the Empire State Building in New York was lit up with the Bat Signal. He will always be remembered as the original voice of Batman.