As Hollywood shines the Bat-Signal brightly into the sky, we rightfully mourn the passing of #AdamWest. Making it to the grand age of 88, West tragically died from Leukemia on June 10, but joyfully left behind a legacy of work since he started acting in 1954.
Known for his distinctive vocals and cameos on the likes of Family Guy, The Simpsons, and The Big Bang Theory, West will go down in history as #Batman from the campy '60s series and the first man to ever portray the Caped Crusader in theaters. Tributes have obviously come flooding in from various fans and celebrities, while most notably, it is the other men to take on the noble insignia of Batman who have delivered the most heartfelt condolences.
The Man Behind The Bat
We have already seen #BenAffleck and Val Kilmer share their memories of West, but now Batman voice actor #KevinConroy has done the same, leaving a touching tribute to West on his Facebook. While Conroy may not be a Batfan of the character's more recent portrayal in Batman v Superman, he dutifully sang the praises of West's tenure on several social media accounts:
Just as everyone will always think of West, Keaton, Kilmer, Bale, Affleck (or even Clooney?) as "their" version of Batman, Conroy clearly sees West as his. However, with Conroy's tireless years of voice work as Batman, he has also cemented himself as THE Batman for many fans of the character. You name a Batman cartoon or animation, and chances are it was Conroy's gravelly grumble heading down the microphone toward you. Although there are many men who have voiced our vigilante hero in animation and gaming, Conroy has the honor of playing him in stellar outings like Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm, Rocksteady's acclaimed Arkham games, and the Batman Beyond TV series.
Both West and Conroy were clearly partners in crime(fighting) and even shared some time together behind the mic when lending their vocals to an episode of Batman: The Animated Series. Out of all his work, it is BTAS that Conroy is most famous for, where he slipped on the cowl to play Bruce Wayne/Batman for the show's entire run. In the Season 1 episode “Beware the Gray Ghost," West cameoed as the titular Gray Ghost — a childhood hero of Wayne's from a TV adventure series. As a not-so subtle nod to West's Batman tenure, the Gray Ghost's voice and mannerisms were closely modeled on his portrayal of Bruce.
Admittedly, Conroy's dark take on the Dark Knight is a million miles away from West's kitsch counterpart, but both of them are true icons of the role. West is known for bringing Batman to life for the first time in cinemas, while Conroy was part of the character's mainstream peak in the '90s and what still keeps Batman popular today. As West hangs up his cape for the last time, it is some solace to know that those who have come after him still look up to him, and that the man who helped define one of the most popular #superhero franchises to ever grace the small and silver screen is rightly remembered.
Check out Conroy and West in action for Batman: The Animated Series and don't forget our poll below!