March 23, 2023
Kevin Conroy, who brought the voice of Batman to life for a generation of fans, is dead at 66 |  Radio-Canada News

Kevin Conroy, who brought the voice of Batman to life for a generation of fans, is dead at 66 | Radio-Canada News

Kevin Conroy, the prolific voice actor whose gritty delivery on Batman: The Animated Series was for many Batman fans the definitive sound of the Caped Crusader, who died at 66.

Conroy died Thursday after a battle with cancer, series producer Warner Bros. announced Friday.

Conroy was the voice of Batman in the acclaimed animated series that ran from 1992 to 1996, often acting alongside Mark Hamill’s Joker. Conroy continued as the almost exclusive animated voice of Batman, including some 15 films, 400 television episodes and two dozen video games, including the Batman: Arkham and Injustice franchisees.

In Batman’s eight-decade history, no one has played the Dark Knight more.

“For generations he has been the definitive Batman,” Hamill said in a statement. “It was one of those perfect scenarios where they had exactly the right guy for the right role, and the world was a better place for it.”

“He will always be my Batman,” Hamill said.

Started in the theater

Conroy’s popularity with fans has made him a sought-after personality on the convention circuit. In the often tumultuous world of DC Comics, Conroy was a mainstay and much loved.

In a statement, Warner Bros. Animation said Conroy’s performance “will forever be among the greatest portrayals of the Dark Knight in any medium.”

“Kevin brought a light with him everywhere, whether it was in the recording booth giving his all or feeding first responders during 9/11 or making sure every fan who ever waited for him had a moment. with his Batman,” said producer Paul Dini. animated show. “A hero in every sense of the word.”

Conroy, right, Rocksteady Studios game director Sefton Hill, left, and DC Entertainment artist and co-publisher Jim Lee celebrate the early launch of Batman: Arkham City in New York City in 2011. (Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)

Born in Westbury, NY, and raised in Westport, Connecticut, Conroy started out as a well-trained stage actor. He attended Juilliard and shared a room with Robin Williams.

After graduating, he toured with John Houseman’s acting group, The Acting Company. He played in Dream of a summer night at the Public Theater and in Eastern Standard on Broadway. At the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, he performed in Hamlet.

The production of the 1980s Eastern Standard, in which Conroy played a television producer secretly living with AIDS, had a special meaning for him. Conroy, who was gay, said at the time that he regularly attended the funerals of friends who died of AIDS. He poured out his angst every night on stage.

In 1980, Conroy moved to Los Angeles, began acting on soap operas, and booked guest appearances on television series, including Cheers, duty tower and Murphy Brown. In 1991, while casting director Andrea Romano was looking for her lead actor to Batman: The Animated Seriesshe went through hundreds of auditions before Conroy arrived. He was there on the recommendation of a friend – and was thrown out immediately.

Conroy started the role with no comic book experience and as a newbie to voice acting. His Batman was hoarse, brooding and dark. His Bruce Wayne was light and dashing. His inspiration for the contrasting vocals, he says, comes from 1930s film, scarlet pimpernelabout an English aristocrat who leads a double life.

“It’s so much fun as an actor to bite your teeth into it,” Conroy told The New York Times in 2016. “Calling it animation doesn’t do it justice. It’s more like mythology.”

Channeled personal life

As Conroy’s performance evolved over the years, it was sometimes tied to his own life. Conroy described his own father as an alcoholic and said his family fell apart while he was in high school. He channeled those emotions in the 1993 animated film mask of fantasywhich revolved around Bruce Wayne’s unresolved issues with his parents.

Conroy attends Florida Supercon in Fort Lauderdale in 2018. (Michele Eve Sandberg/Invision/Associated Press)

“Andrea came in after taping and hugged me,” Conroy told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018. “Andrea said, ‘I don’t know where you went, but it was a great performance. She knew I was drawing on something.”

Conroy is survived by her husband, Vaughn C. Williams, her sister Trisha Conroy and her brother Tom Conroy.

In Finding Batmanreleased earlier this year, Conroy penned a comic about his unlikely journey with the character and as a gay man in Hollywood.

“I’ve often wondered how fitting it was for me to land this role,” he wrote. “As a gay boy growing up in the 1950s and 1960s in a devoutly Catholic family, I had become adept at concealing parts of myself.”

The voice that emerged from Conroy for Batman, he said, was one he didn’t recognize – a voice that “seemed to roar from 30 years of frustration, confusion, denial, love, of desire”.

“I felt Batman rising from deep within me.”

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