By 1992, Tim Burton had brought Batman back to life. His first two movies were effective, and Warner Bros. wanted, badly, to leverage demand with Batman: The Animated Series, which originally aired in primetime on Fox, paid for with twice the typical budget for an animated show of its kind. This was a darker and more grownup Batman. And the studio needed a voice for him.
A year earlier, Kevin Conroy, a Juilliard-trained Broadway actor, was about to audition - reluctantly - for the role. He was no comic geek, having been raised in a strict, traditional Irish-Catholic family outside New York City, where recreational activities were more likely to include baseball and jigging with his Gaelic-speaking Grandma. Producers gave him a crash-course in the Batman storyline before having him read the script. "As soon as they described his schizophrenic lifestyle, it bugged me," Conroy says. "I thought, Wait a minute, he is the Bill Gates of Gotham. He is the most eligible bachelor. Everyone knows who he is. And he puts on a cape, and no one recognizes him? Come on." In the five minutes he had to prepare, Conroy decided to give the superhero a new dual-voiced reading - the naïve scion's lilt and his alter-ego's deep growl - fundamentally altering the legacy of a comic book he had only passing knowledge of. Now imagine if Bruce Wayne and Batman had exactly the same speaking voice. It seems wrong. For that, the world has Kevin Conroy to thank.
It didn't really matter, in theory. The comics had dialogue bubbles. Live-action Batman pre-Conroy had one voice and a costume change. Conroy felt differently, and used his trick to shade in some psychological background: "If he sounds that different, where does the voice come from? It has to come from the pain," Conroy says. "I decided that the Bruce Wayne persona, the public persona, is the performance, and the Batman character is who he is when he is most natural. When he's putting on the cape, he is becoming himself." Everyone's got issues.
Conroy got the part, but he still had work to do. "The Batman voice was the voice you've heard. But the Bruce Wayne voice was a high, light, playboy voice with a lot of irony and humor in it," he says. "As the studio finished the animation, they realized the show was so dark that Bruce Wayne's light sound was jarring." Conroy was asked to re-record the first five or six episodes, cementing the more subtle voices heard in that series, its spin-offs, and video games ever since.
Anime Convention Guest Appearances
GalaxyCon Columbus 2022 - December 2-4, 2022 in Columbus, OH, USAPassed Away Prior to Event Fan Expo Canada 2022 - August 25-28, 2022 in Toronto, ONCancelled Appearance
- MegaCon Orlando 2022 - May 19-22, 2022 in Orlando, FL, USA
Fan Expo New Orleans 2022 - January 7-9, 2022 in New Orleans, LA, USACancelled Appearance 2021
- Fan Expo Dallas 2021 - September 17-19, 2021 in Dallas, TX, USA
- Fan Expo Boston 2021 - September 3-5, 2021 in Boston, MA, USA
- GalaxyCon Raleigh 2021 - July 29 - August 1, 2021 in Raleigh, NC, USA 2020
Fan Expo Dallas 2020 - June 19-21, 2020 in Dallas, TX, USAConvention Cancelled Fan Expo Dallas 2020 - March 27-29, 2020 in Dallas, TX, USAConvention Postponed 2019
- GalaxyCon Minneapolis 2019 - November 8-10, 2019 in Minneapolis, MN, USA
- GalaxyCon Richmond 2019 - May 31 - June 2, 2019 in Richmond, VA, USA
- Pensacon 2019 - February 22-24, 2019 in Pensacola, FL, USA 2018
- FanExpo Vancouver 2018 - October 12-14, 2018 in Vancouver, BC
- Raleigh Supercon 2018 - July 27-29, 2018 in Raleigh, NC, USA
- Florida Supercon 2018 - July 12-15, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA 2017
- Fan Expo Dallas 2017 - March 31 - April 2, 2017 in Dallas, TX, USA 2016
- Stan Lee's Los Angeles Comic Con 2016 - October 28-30, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA, USA
- FanExpo Canada 2016 - September 1-4, 2016 in Toronto, ON
- Fan Expo Dallas 2016 - June 3-5, 2016 in Dallas, TX, USA
- MegaCon 2016 - May 26-29, 2016 in Orlando, FL, USA 2015
- Fan Expo Dallas 2015 - May 29-31, 2015 in Dallas, TX, USA 2014
- New York Comic Con 2014 - October 9-12, 2014 in New York, NY, USA 2013
- SacAnime 2013 - January 4-6, 2013 in Sacramento, CA, USA 2012
- New York Comic Con 2012 - October 11-14, 2012 in New York, NY, USA 2011
- Armageddon Expo Auckland 2011 - October 28-31, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand
- Armageddon Expo Melbourne 2011 - October 22-23, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia
21 confirmed guest appearances
View Kevin Conroy on FanCons.com for 74 additional guest appearances