Tributes paid to gay Batman actor Kevin Conroy, tragically dead at 66

Kevin Conroy holds a microphone on stage

Gay actor Kevin Conroy, who was known around the world as the voice of Batman, has died after a cancer diagnosis.

The actor died after a short battle with the illness, his representatives said.

Conroy voiced Batman in nearly 60 productions and, first rising to fame playing the superhero in Batman: The Animated Series between 1992 and 1996.

He was the quintessential voice of the Dark Knight, starring in 15 films, 15 animated series which included nearly 400 episodes and more than 100 hours of TV, and 24 video games.

He also appeared as a live-action Bruce Wayne in the Arrowverse’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event from 2019 to 2020.

Conroy was one of the first openly gay actors to play a superhero.

Earlier this year, he wrote an autobiographical segment for the DC Pride 2022 comic special titled Finding Batman, which detailed his struggles as a gay actor before getting the role. 

In a statement, DC Comics said: “DC is deeply saddened at the passing of the legendary actor, and the voice of Batman for legions of fans, Kevin Conroy.

“His iconic voice made Batman real not only through his work in Batman: The Animated Series, but a host of animated features, video games and more.”

“In tribute to his impact on us all”, DC said, the annual Pride Anthology would now be free-to-read for all fans, adding: “He will be forever missed.”

Mark Hamill, who worked alongside Conroy voicing The Joker, said: “Kevin was perfection. He was one of my favourite 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… For several generations, he has been the definitive Batman.

“It was one of those perfect scenarios where they got the exact right guy for the exact right part, and the world was better for it.

“His rhythms and subtleties, tones and delivery – that all also helped inform my
performance. He was the ideal partner – it was such a complementary, creative experience.

“I couldn’t have done it without him. He will always be my Batman.”

Paul Dini, producer of Batman: The Animated Series, said: “Kevin brought a light with him everywhere, 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.”

Emmy Award-winning casting director Andrea Romano added: “Kevin was far more than an actor whom I had the pleasure of casting and directing – he was a dear friend for 30+ years whose kindness and generous spirit knew no boundaries.

“Kevin’s warm heart, delightfully deep laugh and pure love of life will be with me forever.”

Conroy began his career working in theatre after studying The Juilliard School, and as well as his work as Batman, also went on to get roles on Dynasty, Tour of Duty and Ohara, as well as guest roles on series like Cheers, Murphy Brown, Spenser: For Hire and Matlock.

Conroy is survived by his husband Vaughn C Williams, and his siblings Trisha and Tom Conroy.