Kevin Conroy, the voice actor who was the Batman for a generation, passed away at the age of 66, The Verge has confirmed. In an email seen by The Verge, DC public relations wrote, “It is with profound sadness that I send this to you today. Kevin Conroy, the quintessential voice of Batman, a dear friend to so many of us, has passed away.”
Conroy enjoyed a prolific acting career across stage and screen, but he is best known for voicing Batman, one of the most popular and captivating superheroes ever, starting with Batman: The Animated Series in 1992. He would go on to voice the Caped Crusader in many other animated series and video games, including Justice League, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman Beyond, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, and Batman: Arkham Asylum, and even play a live-action (and villainous) version of Batman during The CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths special event.
“My heart pulsed, I felt my face flush, my breath grew deeper, I began to speak and a voice I didn’t recognize came out. It was a throaty, husky, rumbling sound that shook my body,” he wrote.
“Kevin was perfection,” said Mark Hamill, voice of the equally iconic Joker, in the press release announcing Conroy’s death. “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.”
I am a child of the ’90s, and like many of my cohorts, I have distinct memories of waking up on Saturday morning to watch cartoons. No matter who you were, Black or white, girl or boy, we all watched Batman: The Animated Series. And as a burgeoning fanfiction writer, Batman and Catwoman were one of my most favorite ships, one I carry with me today. Conroy’s voice was like a ’90s baby security blanket. One of those sounds anybody aged 29–40 could point out, like, “That’s Kevin Conroy.” No matter what you were watching, if you heard that voice, you just felt good.
The way American culture thinks of Christopher Reeve as the singular and best Superman, that’s how a lot of us feel about Kevin Conroy’s Batman. He was 66 years old.