Today is Batman Day, Here Are 8 Actors Who Have Played Him

Batman is being celebrated around the world today with a number of events and promotions. No, it’s not his birthday, but each year since 2014, Batman Day has become a special occasion that marks his comic book debut. The Caped Crusader has been on the scene since 1939—that’s 80 years!

Since Batman first graced the pages of DC Comics, the past few decades have seem him emerge in film and on television. Fans have their favorite on-screen versions of the pop culture icon, and in honor of his 80th anniversary, we’re sharing a brief history of who’s become the Dark Knight over the years.

Michael Keaton as Batman
Michael Keaton as Batman | Murray Close/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

Adam West

West famously brought the character to life in the Batman TV series which ran from 1966 to 1968. He and Burt Ward took town criminals around Gotham City as Batman and Robin, and even did a feature film in 1966.

Den of Geek notes there were two versions of Batman in the 1940s before West picked up the mantle. Lewis G. Wilson and Robert Lowery first put on the Batsuit, with the latter going on to a successful acting career.

West’s Batman is known for deviating from the dark and serious tones of the comics and instead taking things in a silly, adventurous direction. You can watch these campy episodes of Batman online.

Michael Keaton

Tim Burton’s Batman film starred Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Basinger, with Keaton’s Batman squaring off against Nicholson’s memorable Joker.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the road to get the movie made was a long one filled with rejection for producer Michael Uslan and his partner, Benjamin Melniker.

It took 10 years from the time they purchased the rights to its debut in 1989. When news of Keaton’s casting hit the ears of fans, some were incensed that a comedian would be playing the hero.

In spite of a petition signed by thousands, Keaton’s performance was largely praised, and the film earned over $400 million at the box office. He then reprised the role in the 1992 Tim Burton sequel, Batman Returns.

Val Kilmer

Kilmer was in 1995’s Batman Forever, the one with Jim Carrey as Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Chris O’Donnell first appeared as Robin in this installment which also featured appearances from Nicole Kidman and Drew Barrymore.

Though this follow-up movie was largely panned by critics, it went on to earn over $300 million.

George Clooney

Clooney suited up and headed into the Batcave in 1997’s Batman & Robin alongside Chris O’Donnell’s Robin. The movie was a sequel to Kilmer’s Batman Forever and perhaps the only other Batman film to score low marks among fans and critics.

Christian Bale

Bale resurrected the Batman franchise when he was cast in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, which premiered in 2005. His gravelly voice drew ire and endless jokes, but fans were used to it by the time 2008’s The Dark Knight arrived to rave reviews, thanks to a performance by Heath Ledger.

Bale’s last turn as Bruce Wayne/Batman was in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises with Tom Hardy as the villain Bane.

Ben Affleck

DC’s 2016 film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice handed the keys of the Batmobile over to Ben Affleck, which was a move that many did not like. The Zack Snyder-directed flick made over $800 million at the box office, and Affleck kept the gig for Suicide Squad and Justice League.

In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel this year, Affleck stated that he would be hanging up his cape to make way for someone new to play the role for 2021’s The Batman. We now know that person will be Robert Pattinson.

Kevin Conroy

We can’t talk about Batman’s incarnations without giving a shout to Conroy, a voice actor who gets a lot of love for his role in the animated series and video games. Since the ‘90s, Conroy has been taking viewers on adventures as Bruce Wayne/Batman, and that includes a stint in Teen Titans Go!.

Though Conroy is the most well-known animated Batman, the character has also been voiced by others such as Will Friedle, Jeremy Sisto, Jason O’Mara, and Peter Weller.

Will Arnett

The LEGO Batman Movie dared to give fans the obnoxious, rigid, and hilarious version of Batman we needed from Will Arnett. Arnett told Metro US he had fun voicing the animated role and wanted to switch the rules of Batman up.

He also never imagined that he would ever play the hero during his career but appreciates it’s something he can share with his kids.

Heading into the future, moviegoers will be waiting to see how Robert Pattison makes the character his own. Happy Batman Day!