Batman: The Animated Series has finally landed on Blu-ray in the US (it arrives in the UK next week) and as such, at present everyone is going B:TAS crazy. So much so, that I thought it would be a good time to revisit a post I previously published on the Honcho-SFX blog.
The post – Whatever happened to the cast of Batman: The Animated Series? – gives a rundown of what the core cast went on to do following the conclusion of the series. As the show featured SO MANY actors over the course of its run I’ve concentrated on the main cast, however, so not to completely repeat what I’ve posted before, I’ve updated the info to reflect the supporting cast too.
Here we go…
Batman/Bruce Wayne – Kevin Conroy
Since taking on the mantle of Batman in Batman: The Animated Series, Conroy has continued to maintain the Batman legacy through games, TV shows and movies (both small screen and big screen). Some of these roles have been a continuation of the Animated Series (Batman Beyond, Justice League: Unlimited etc), whilst others have been unconnected roles such as Justice League: Doom (2012) or Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014).
During the late ‘00s and into this decade, Conroy amassed a new Bat-following, thanks to his voice work on the Arkham gaming series – Arkham Asylum (2009), Arkham City (2011) and Arkham Knight (2015) – as well as DC Universe Online (2011), Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013) and Injustice 2 (2017).
Over the past couple of years, he has reprised the role of Batman for animated movies, The Killing Joke – opposite his Batman: The Animated Series co-star, Mark Hamill – and Batman: Harley Quinn (2017). The voice actor currently voices Batman on the animated show, Justice League Action.
Robin/Dick Grayson – Loren Lester
Prior to the role of Robin on Batman: The Animated Series, Loren Lester was quite a seasoned voice actor, having provided voice over duties on such shows as G.I. Joe, Defenders of the Earth and New Kids on the Block. After his stint on Batman, Lester voiced characters in Men in Black: The Series, Extreme Ghostbusters and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, before taking on the role of Nightwing (the adult version of Robin), for The New Batman Adventures.
Outside of animation, Lester has appeared on numerous TV shows, including Joey, Desperate Housewives, Criminal Minds, The West Wing and Bones as well as various films, including American Wedding (2003), Red Eye (2005) and 17 Again (2009). He’s even found time to provide voice work for a bunch of computer games, including the 2015 game, Batman: Arkham Knight, where he took on the role of Karl Langstrom aka Man-Bat.
More recently, Lester returned to the role of Dick Grayson for the 2017 animated movie, Batman: Harley Quinn.
Alfred Pennyworth – Efrem Zimbalist Jr
Long before he voiced Bruce Wayne’s incredibly loyal butler, Alfred Pennyworth, Efrem Zimbalist Jr had a very successful acting career, appearing in various films and TV shows. TV credits alone included The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Rawhide, Fantasy Island, Remington Steele and Zorro.
After appearing on Batman: The Animated Series in the early ‘90s, Zimbalist Jr continued to appear on TV, with regular roles in Babylon 5, Iron Man, Gargoyles and Spider-Man (he voiced fan-favourite character, Doctor Octopus). He then continued his acting into the ‘00s, even reprising the role of Alfred for Batman spin-off shows, Justice League and Static Shock.
In May 2014, at the age of 95, Efrem Zimbalist Jr died of natural causes.
Commissioner Gordon – Bob Hastings
Bob Hastings, like many on this list, enjoyed a strong career in TV, providing voice over work on various cartoons and making appearances in popular shows such as Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, Quincy M.E., The Love Boat, The Rockford Files, Ironside and The Munsters. During the 1960s, Hastings was perhaps best known for his role as Lt. Elroy Carpenter on McHale’s Navy.
In 1992, Hastings took on the role of Commissioner Gordon on Batman: The Animated Series, a role that he continued for the next decade in the various Batman spin-off shows, including Superman, The New Batman Adventures, Gotham Girls and Static Shock. In 2003 Hastings reprised the role of Commissioner Gordon for computer game, Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu and for direct-to-DVD movie, Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman.
Mystery of the Batwoman marked the final time Hastings would play the part of Batman’s trusted friend and his last acting role was in 2010 in the video game, Mafia II.
In June 2014, at the age of 89, Bob Hastings died of prostate cancer.
Harvey Bullock – Robert Costanzo
Even if you’re not familiar with his name, you’ll recognise Robert Costanzo because he has appeared in countless TV shows and films over the years, perhaps most notably NYPD Blue, Total Recall (1990) and Die Hard 2 (1990). He also played the role of Joey Tribbiani Sr in the first season of Friends.
Since appearing in Batman: The Animated Series as Detective Harvey Bullock, Costanzo has continued to appear in TV shows and films, ranging from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Murder She Wrote, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Kenan & Kel and Party of Five, to Caroline in the City, Teen Angel, Rugrats, ER, Family Guy and much, much more.
With regards to Batman, Costanzo returned to the role of Harvey Bullock for Batman spin-off shows, The New Batman Adventures and Superman, as well as direct-to-DVD movie, Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003). In 2013, Costanzo voiced Bullock one more time in computer game, Batman: Arkham Origins (2013).
Recent roles have included a part in horror comedy, Beast Mode (2016) and a guest spot on TV series, 2 Broke Girls. At present, the actor has various projects in production and post-production.
Batgirl/Barbara Gordon – Melissa Gilbert
Although Batgirl’s role on Batman: The Animated Series was limited to only a handful of appearances, it was still memorable and included the popular stories, Shadow of the Bat and Batgirl Returns. Here Batgirl was voiced by none other than Melissa Gilbert, who many will remember as little Laura Ingalls on the hugely successful TV show, Little House on the Prairie.
But it’s not just Batgirl and Laura Ingalls that have defined Gilbert’s career. Since getting her big break in the 1960s, Gilbert has had a regular flow of work, appearing in various movies and TV shows, including Babylon 5, The Outer Limits, Touched by an Angel, 7th Heaven and Nip/Tuck, to name a few. In 2015, Gilbert appeared in an episode of The Night Shift.
More recently, Gilbert has been involved in politics, having thrown her hat into the ring for Michigan’s 8th congressional district in the 2016 elections to the United States House of Representatives. However, she was forced to pull out of the campaign due to health reasons.
The Joker – Mark Hamill
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Mark Hamill was best known for a role in a small sci-fi movie called Star Wars (1977). Have you heard of it?
Oh how I jest, of course you’ve heard of Star Wars, which is why I don’t need to tell you that Hamill recently reprised the role of Luke Skywalker for The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017). But did you know that between Star Wars movies, Hamill has had a very successful career in television? Well he has.
Outside of his role as the Joker on Batman: The Animated Series and its various spin-off shows, Hamill has provided voiceover work on countless cartoons including Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, Phantom 2040, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Totally Spies, Family Guy, Robot Chicken and Ultimate Spider-Man, among others. Fans of The Flash will have also seen Hamill take on the part of the Trickster in two different versions of the show – the ‘90s Flash and the current series which airs on The CW/Sky One.
Similar to Kevin Conroy, Hamill’s work on Batman: The Animated Series has never really left him and he’s continued to play the Joker on and off in various Batman movies and games, including the Arkham series of games and animated movie, The Killing Joke (2016). More recently, Hamill has voiced various characters on Justice League Action, including, yep you guessed it – the Joker!
Harley Quinn – Arleen Sorkin
And here we have a very important cast member for a very specific reason: Without Arleen Sorkin there would be no Harley Quinn.
This is a fact.
Not only did Sorkin voice the character of Harley Quinn on Batman: The Animated Series, she also provided the inspiration for the character. You see, Sorkin is good friends with Harley Quinn co-creator, Paul Dini, so when Dini was trying to come up with a character who could act as a foil for the Joker, Sorkin was at the forefront of his mind. No Sorkin = no Quinn.
So what has Sorkin been up to as of late? Well, since appearing on Batman: The Animated Series during the ‘90s, Sorkin’s acting work has been few and far between, and has mostly centred on guest spots as Harley on the various Batman spin-off shows as well as a few video games including Arkham Asylum and DC Universe Online.
Outside of Batman, Sorkin’s most prolific job was as co-writer on the 1997 Jennifer Aniston film, Picture Perfect.
And now for some of the other cast members…
- Diana Muldaur (Dr. Leslie Thompkins) – Although she only appeared in five episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, her role as Dr. Leslie Thompkins won Diana Muldaur a legion of fans. Nowadays the actress pops up on the convention circuit where she will sign autographs and talk about her extensive TV career, which included the role of Dr. Katherine Pulaski on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Lloyd Bochner (Mayor Hamilton Hill) – Following his role on Batman: The Animated Series and follow-up show, The New Batman Adventures, Bochner appeared in a couple of projects including the TV movie, Before I say Goodbye. In 2005, the actor passed away.
- Adrienne Barbeau (Selina Kyle/Catwoman) – Jeez, what hasn’t Adrienne Barbeau done since Batman: The Animated Series? The actress is very, very busy and has a long list of credits to her name appearing in TV shows, movies, shorts and video games. She is also a regular on the convention circuit.
- John Glover (Edward Nygma/Riddler) – Another busy bee, Glover has had an extensive career since completing work on Batman, appearing in shows ranging from The Blacklist and Agent Carter to The Goodwife and Perception. Regardless of what role he takes on, for many genre fans Glover is perhaps recognised mostly for his lengthy stint on Smallville, as Lionel Luthor.
- Diane Pershing (Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy) – Since the conclusion of Batman: The Animated Series, Pershing reprised the role of Poison Ivy for web series, Gotham Girls as well as animated shows, Static Shock and Justice League. Her most recent credit was voice over work for the 2010 video game, Fallout: New Vegas.
- Roddy McDowall (Jervis Tetch/Mad Hatter) – Roddy McDowall continued acting after Batman: The Animated Series in projects such as A Bug’s Life (1998) and Godzilla: The Series. The actor passed away at the age of 70 in 1998.
- Ron Perlman (Matt Hagen/Clayface) – As if I need to tell you what Ron Perlman has been up to since his Batman days. Two Hellboy movies, a long-standing stint on Sons of Anarchy, various voice over roles (The Book of Life, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Adventure Time, Transformers: Power of the Primes) and so on. The actor has various projects in pre-production.
- David Warner (Ra’s al Ghul) – Manchester born Warner is a well-known face on TV and film and has continued to have an extensive career in various TV shows (Wallander, Ripper Street etc). He can next be seen in this year’s Disney movie, Mary Poppins Returns.
- Paul Williams (Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin) – Another actor with an extensive career, both before and after Batman, Williams is constantly in work, notably as a writer and lyricist. Recent projects have included an episode of Black Mirror and Hotel Transylvania 3 (2018).
- Richard Moll (Harvey Dent/Two-Face) – Richard Moll’s post-Batman career is very long. Very, very long. The actor has appeared in various TV shows and TV movies, with his most recent project being Whispers and Shadows, which is currently in post-production.
- Matthew Valencia (Tim Drake/Robin II) – Following his turn as Tim Drake in The New Batman Adventures, Valencia reprised the role for spin-off movie, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. The actor’s most recent acting credit was in 2002 for an episode of As Told by Ginger.
- Tara Strong (Barbara Gordon/Batgirl) – And finally, Tara Strong is another very, VERY busy human being. Her voice over work is extensive and legendary, having taken on parts in Teen Titans, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Ben 10. She’s currently working on a new project, Goblins Animated.