Kevin Conroy is the definitive Batman for many a fan of the Dark Knight because he’s been voicing the character for coming up to three decades, in various animated TV shows, movies, and video games. Not to mention his live-action cameo as Bruce Wayne in The CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” in 2019. But out of the countless times he’s played Gotham’s protector, there’s only been one time when Conroy was moved to tears while recording his dialogue.
As Bat-fans may suspect, the incident in question occurred during recording on Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. The 1993 feature-length spinoff of Batman: The Animated Series is partially a telling of Bruce’s origins story, revealing that the hero almost never became Batman because he fell in love with Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delaney) at the beginning of his crime-fighting career. In the movie’s most moving scene, Bruce breaks down at his parents’ grave, pleading for forgiveness that he wants to move on from his grief because he’s now found happiness with Andrea.
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It was while playing out this moment that Conroy was overwhelmed with emotion. While attending Nashville Wizard World Comic Con in 2017, the star recalled, “I had a very complicated relationship with my parents throughout my life and when I recorded that scene … I lost it.” Conroy then explained that voice director and fellow DCAU veteran Andrea Romano entered the performance booth to check in on him and he had to take a walk to pull himself together.
The fact that this scene resonated so personally and profoundly with Conroy probably speaks to how perfectly cast he was as Batman and why he’s always managed to capture the core of the character so well. Especially in Mask of the Phantasm, which many fans would consider to be his finest vocal turn in the role. His close connection to the material is likely why this scene never fails to make Batman fans tear up themselves whenever they watch it
Kevin Conroy’s next DC performance is yet to be confirmed, but it’s feasible that he could return for Batman: Caped Crusader, the highly anticipated HBO Max animated series from Matt Reeves, J.J. Abrams, and the DCAU’s Bruce Timm.