Remembering Kevin Conroy and His Legendary Voice
A Voice That Touched the Hearts of Millions
I am vengeance, I am the night, I am Batman!
Three lines simple lines; three not-so-simple decades.
On November 10th, 2022, the world mourned the loss of a voice-acting legend and pop-culture royalty, Kevin Conroy.
For the last 30 years, if there’s been an animated Batman, you can bet it’s probably Conroy who voiced him. He was the staple, the gold standard, the be-all-end-all, and the twilight voice of familiarity 90’s kids grew up listening to. To more than two generations – he was Batman.
Read with caution – this article contains abundant alliteration
You Can’t Mention Batman Without Thinking of Kevin Conroy
To this day, you can’t mention the Dark Knight’s name without hearing Conroy’s voice beneath the cape and cowl.
He’s voiced the character longer than any other actor ever has and probably ever will. Whether it was a video game, tv cameo or animated film, Conroy brought unparalleled professionalism to the job. He was so diligent in every one of his roles as Batman that he could voice two distinct versions of the character side-by-side, and you’d genuinely believe they were different voice actors. He brought a level of depth and sophistication to the role that won’t likely be seen again for a long, long time.
Through more than 56 iterations of the character, whenever he appeared as Batman, Conroy commanded the role with grit, authority, and collected confidence. Yet simultaneously brought so much range and emotional maturity to a traditionally static character.
Almost as if Conroy’s voice was meant to inhabit the role.
Kevin Conroy Voiced Batman More Than 60 Times Over 30 Years
It doesn’t seem to matter which animated DC property we bring up, if there’s a Batman, there’s usually a Conroy voice-over.
From the very first moment he slipped into character, Conroy not only fit the role like a glove but made it entirely his own. His portrayal of Bruce Wayne went over so well with viewers that Warner Brothers kept him on indefinitely as recurring voice talent. From films to video games – following his debut in Batman: The Animated Series, virtually every animated Batman appearance for the next 30 years would star Kevin Conroy as Gotham’s savior. He’s famously voiced the character in more than 30 animation projects and 24 video games – several of which he starred alongside his friend (and animated nemesis) Mark Hamill.
The pair had such great chemistry together, on and off-screen, that when Rockstar Games released the Arkham Asylum games, one of the biggest draws for fans was that the two would reprise their opposing roles again.
Stepping On-Screen – The Highly Anticipated Conroy Cameo
After 20-plus years behind a cartoon cowl, Conroy finally stepped out of the shadows and onto the silver screen.
Before his only live-action performance of the character, Conroy’s cameo was teased for weeks – lifelong fans lurched in anticipation, clamoring to see him finally inhabit the role in the flesh. And he failed to disappoint. Not only was the Bruce Wayne we saw in the CW’s Crisis on Infinite Earths as old and cynical as he was broken and battered, but he was complicated.
Of all Conroy’s iterations of the superhero, this one was by far one of the darkest. But it worked – despite the CW’s Batwoman losing viewership for months, scores of lifelong Conroy fans tuned in just to see him finally debut on-screen.
That’s just how iconic Kevin Conroy’s voice was – each performance filled viewers with as much love for the character as Conroy felt for his craft.
There’s a reason his career as the voice of Batman earned him 5 BTVA voice acting awards.
4 Memorable Conroy Moments
Batman’s Hilarious Teen Titans GO! Cameo
Batman’s self-deprecating cameo in Teen Titans GO! acts as a parody callback to the older days of Batman and Robin. While the flashback sequence belongs to Robin, Conroy’s Batman is front and center. A hilarious demonstration of Conroy’s willingness to get a little more obtuse with the character, this was his chance to show off a Batman who isn’t afraid to laugh at himself.
Two Batmen – Conroy’s Dual Performance in Justice League Unlimited
Kevin Conroy appeared as Batman so many times across so many different series – it’s a wonder he didn’t star alongside himself more often. That said, one of the times he did was as a younger Batman alongside a much older Bruce Wayne from the Batman Beyond series.
To this day, it remains one of his most memorable Batman voice performances because of how easy Conroy makes it look to play two very different versions of the character at the same time.
That Time Conroy Sung Am I Blue? As Batman
In an episode of Justice League Unlimited, the Dark Knight’s given a choice.
To save Wonder Woman from a curse, he has to reveal something about himself – something hidden, personal, and impossible to take back.
As an audience, the presumption is that he’s supposed to give away his secret identity, but nobody would be able to predict what happens next. Instead of outing himself as the billionaire Bruce Wayne, Conroy put his vocal talents to the test and sang Am I Blue? as Batman.
For most fans, this marked a huge turning point in the character’s personality – in the more than 80 years since his creation, this is the only time anyone has seen Batman sing.
I am Batman – Conroy’s Spin on the Iconic Catchphrase
It’s been a pop-culture reference and meme for more than three decades.
It’s nearly synonymous with the caped crusader; it transcends every Batman performance and ensconces the role in an air of familiarity. The phrase I’m Batman may have existed a little while before Conroy took on the character, but he made it his own.
Adam West may have been the first to say it unintentionally. Michael Keaton was the first to utter it deliberately, and George Clooney, well, we don’t talk about that, Kevin Conroy who took the one-liner, I’m Batman, and turned it into the catchphrase we hold near and dear to our hearts today.
The way Conroy bellowed his heart and soul into the phrase, I am vengeance, I am the night, I am Batman!, was so memorable and awe-inspiring that it’s gone on to become the definitive trademark of the Dark Knight 30 years later. He was the voice of a beloved brooding hero for more than a generation, and his untimely loss pricks a bittersweet hole in our collective hearts.
Kevin Conroy touched lives everywhere and will live on in our hearts as the kind, loving, and warm person he always was.
He was vengeance; he was the night; he was Batman – now and forever.
Kim Handysides is an award-winning voice artist and thought leader in her industry. Her narrations have been heard on Discovery, Netflix, and the major networks, in iMax, the White House and the Smithsonian.