24) Dick Gautier (PSA For Equal Pay)
Following the success of the 1966 Batman TV series, Burt Ward (who had played Robin), and Yvonne Craig (who had played Batgirl) agreed to reprise their roles for a Public Service Announcement on the subject of Equal Pay, in 1972. Fearing perpetual typecasting, caused by having played such an iconic character, Batman actor Adam West declined the opportunity, and was instead replaced by Dick Gautier. His foray into the realm of superheroes was brief, but notable – particularly given the subject matter of the segment.
23) George Clooney (Batman & Robin)
He may have eventually become an Academy Award winning actor, but even Clooney himself has been heard to refer to his donning of the Batsuit as the event that killed the franchise. He’s not wrong – his portrayal was one of many aspects of Batman and Robin that contributed to the brutal slaying of the Batman feature film brand, leaving it cold until Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale resurrected it many years later.
The problem lay in the lack of balance within his performance. Clooney unsurprisingly embodied the playboy swagger required for the portrayal of Bruce Wayne – but could not create the shades of darkness that lie within the character, to create the Batman.
22) Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)
It’s difficult to know what was going through the minds of Joel Schumacher and his casting director when they came to the conclusion that Val Kilmer should be Batman. Taking an actor renowned for attempting intensity in his dramatic work, and placing him within a film whose tone is specifically designed to be ‘cartoonish’ – simply created a situation in which Batman looked as though he wished he was somewhere else.
21) Lewis Wilson (Batman)
The portrayal of Batman by Lewis Wilson is historic, in that he was the first actor to play the character in live-action, with the 15 episode serial, Batman. Widely regarded as a response from the entertainment business to the United States entering World War II, the plot of the serial saw Batman battling against a Japanese spy named Dr. Daka, who sought to bring the American people under Japanese control.
20) Robert Lowery (Batman And Robin)
Robert Lowery replaced actor Lewis Wilson in the sequel to the 1943 serial Batman, donning the cape and cowl for a 15 episode serial. This time, Batman and his able sidekick faced off against the Wizard, whose electronic device enabled him to control cars remotely.
This second serial was restored and released on DVD in 2005 as part of celebrations marking the theatrical release of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. As with his predecessor, this was the only outing as Batman for Robert Lowery.
19) Anthony Ruivivar (Beware The Batman)
Featuring in the short-lived Batman series Beware The Batman, Anthony Ruivivar delivered a Dark Knight who teamed up with martial arts superhero Katana to hone his vigilante skills. He recorded 26 episodes as the main character, and provided sufficient characterization to draw the audience into the story for that time. However, the voice depiction lacked any real impact or gravitas that might set it apart in what was, by 2014, an incredibly crowded field.