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Kevin Conroy, Gay Actor & Longtime Voice of Batman, Dies at 66

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(CNN) -- Kevin Conroy, the man behind the gravelly bass voice of Batman and who popularized that unmistakable growl that separated Bruce Wayne from the Caped Crusader, has died, according to his representative Gary Miereanu.

He was 66.DC Comics also confirmed the news.Conroy died Thursday, shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer, Miereanu said.Conroy's work in the role is the basis for every iteration of Batman popular culture has seen since.

He played Wayne and his superheroic alter ego for years on TV, including on the beloved "Batman: The Animated Series," and his influence can be heard in the performances of Christian Bale, Robert Pattinson and many more who've played the character.But few actors can say they've played Batman quite as often as Conroy: He appeared in more than 400 episodes of TV as the voice -- and once, embodiment -- of the Dark Knight.From Broadway to BatmanBefore he was Batman, Conroy regularly performed the work of the Bard: A graduate of Julliard's esteemed acting program, Conroy appeared in adaptations of Shakespearean works from "Hamlet" to "King Lear," usually at the Old Globe in San Diego.

He appeared on Broadway, too, in "Lolita" and "Eastern Standard."But it's undoubtedly the Bat for which Conroy is best known.

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