Kevin Conroy, who died at 66, was maybe the greatest performer of Batman ever

Actor Kevin Conroy has died. He was 66.Actor Kevin Conroy has died. He was 66.
Conroy voiced the Caped Crusader on Batman: The Animated Series from 1992 to 1996, as well as in 15 films, 15 animated series and two dozen video games. To several generation of fans, including mine, he simply...was Batman.
That's because Conroy understood something very fundamental about the character that no other actor to play Batman ever has:
Batman isn't a disguise. Batman is the real guy.
It's Bruce Wayne that's the put-on — the pose, the performance, the face he shows to the world.
Conroy got that. Embodied it, really. But every other actor who's slapped on the bat ears over the years inevitably adopts an overtly theatrical, affected voice when they play Batman.
For most of them, it's a whispery rasp meant to seem super-butch, super-intimidating. It's Clint Eastwood's stoic Man With No Name in black Kevlar.
There have been a couple exceptions. Adam West went big, comically stiff and stentorian: "Careful, chum! Pedestrian safety!"
Christian Bale went even harder, punishing evil-doers (and his vocal folds) with a throaty, if weirdly adenoidal roar: "SWEAR TO ME!" A bullfrog with laryngitis, over here.
But Keaton, Clooney, Kilmer, Affleck and Pattinson all Eastwood-whisper their Bat-dialogue, as if they think they can save Gotham via ASMR.
All of them see Batman as the role to play, and convince themselves they need to create a separate, menacing persona to do so.

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