Debuting in Detective Comics in May 1939, Batman has secured the streets of Gotham City for over 82 years now.
The character evokes different memories across generations – some will think of Adam West up against Cesar Romero's Joker. Others will remember the astonishing amount of hype behind Tim Burton and Michael Keaton’s Batman returning to the big screen.
Millennials and Gen Z may identify more quickly with Christian Bale's brooding Batman; more caped, less crusader. Everyone would likely rather forget George Clooney's rubber bat-nipples. However, Batman's appearances on screens, both big and small, have not been limited to actors physically playing the role – there have been many Batman voice actors over many platforms. From animated movies to long-running TV series, from comic books to video games on the latest consoles. Bruce Wayne and his alter ego are perhaps more popular – and certainly more ubiquitous – than they've ever been.
Here's a look at some of the best Batman voice actors; discover those who have taken the Dark Knight far beyond the Batsuit.
For many, Kevin Conroy is the quintessential animated Batman voice actor. He's by far the most prolific actor in the role, having featured in no less than 30 animated movies/TV shows and 13 video games, including the wildly commercially and critically acclaimed Arkham series. Julliard trained, Conroy brings a gravitas to the role –he almost sees Batman and Bruce Wayne as two separate characters.
In the 1990s, Conroy's Batman: The Animated Series brought a much darker take on the Caped Crusader than Joel Schumacher's cartoonish big screen offerings of the period and perhaps signposted the direction of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight franchise-yet-to-come. It's not all darkness, though – Conroy revealed in a 2018 interview that he's not above using his tones to help his friends by scaring their kids into doing homework!
Yes, that Adam West. After some years playing himself as a recurring character in Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy West was persuaded to don the animated cape and mask for 2016's Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. Fans and critics alike hailed the return to a Batman of more innocent times – and its 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes illustrates the love folks have for West's performance.
Original 1960's cast members Burt Ward and Julie Newmar reprised their classic roles as Robin/Dick Grayson and Catwoman. It turned out that it really was getting the gang back together one last time, like Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders proved West's final screen role before his passing in 2017. It's hard to think of a more fitting send-off for this classic Batman voice actor legend.
ROGER CRAIG SMITH
With advancements in technology and budgets to match, the lines between Hollywood and video games – and the actors who work in them – grow ever more blurred. Having started his screen career in video games, specifically Resident Evil (and yeah, that franchise became some movies too), former stand-up comedian Smith graduated to movies like Wreck-It Ralph and the Batman franchise.
Playing the voice lead in the 2013 game Batman: Arkham Origins, he switched platforms in 2015 to reprise the character in the animated film Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts. Batman being in video games isn't new – the character has been licensed for games since the days of the ZX Spectrum, but the processing power available now means frequently games can look like movies and movies can look like games.
Crossovers into the digital high street are becoming more common, too – leading gaming platform Gala Bingo have several superhero titles, including a dedicated Dark Knight game inspired by the Nolan film. There is no end of superhero-inspired content out there because, at the end of the day, it is just so popular among pop culture fanatics, not to mention Batman enthusiasts.
A bit of license here, as Bojack Horseman lead Will Arnett gave perform as a Batman voice actor in The LEGO Batman Movie. A little tongue-in-cheek, still, if we're doing mashups, why not combine those? Horseman Batjack? Batman Horsejack? All together now; 'Back in the '90s, I was Val Kilmer one tiiiii-mmmme.....'
That is just our top pick! The truth is that there are so many people who have adopted the cowl that its mind-boggling. and that is just one character!