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DC Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

Ever since "Batman" arrived on movie screens as a 15-chapter serial in 1943, live-action adaptations of DC Comics have been an on-and-off fixture in American mass media. We can glean a sense for the concerns, trends, and definitive events of an American era from how the creators of the time envision Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the gang. Superheroes are kind of like the mediums of film and television themselves, in that respect. 

The TV Batman of 1966 (Adam West) might find himself tempted to join the peace and love generation; whereas the decisively less groovy movie Batman of 2008 (Christian Bale) constructs a blatantly illegal, high-tech surveillance state for the sole purpose of catching The Joker (Heath Ledger). Clark Kent as depicted by George Reeves certainly never uses a cell phone, but Tyler Hoechlin's Clark uses modern gadgets all the time; someday, Superman fans will look back and laugh at all the hilariously antiquated technology and pop culture references on "Superman and Lois."     

Of course, with a group of intellectual properties as vast and diverse as the DC Universe continuing to reboot with new actors once every handful of years, sooner or later, some of those actors will die. While a few of those deaths have been very high profile — Christopher Reeve and Ledger, for instance — others might have slipped under your radar. Here is a group that didn't get as much attention as the mega-stars. 

Jackie Cooper was an Oscar nominee at age nine

When it comes to daily newspaper editors who unknowingly work alongside world-famous crime fighters, J. Jonah Jameson of The Daily Bugle tends to overshadow Perry White of The Daily Planet. That's got nothing to do with either of their journalistic abilities, of course; J.J.'s just a larger-than-life personality, and essentially one of the villains in many Spider-Man stories. On the other hand, Perry White's such a diehard print media professional and advocate, he's been played by many more actors than J.J., who's principally associated with the version played by J.K. Simmons in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" trilogy.

Although he's not the only live-action Perry White, the Superman world's answer to Simmons is probably Jackie Cooper, who corrects Clark Kent's spelling errors in "Superman" (1978), "Superman II" (1980), "Superman III" (1983), and "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace" (1987). Despite a major role in one of the most successful film franchises of the 1980s, Cooper arguably never surpassed his career zenith at the age of nine, when he became the youngest actor ever nominated for Best Actor at the 1931 Academy Awards. But you could also argue that acting steadily in film and TV from the early '30s up until 1990 is a bigger accomplishment than any single role or nomination. Cooper died in 2011 at the age of 88. 

Margot Kidder helped establish the modern Lois Lane

The tragically short nature of Christopher Reeve's life has been widely publicized, but we don't think it's a stretch to suggest the world could have used at least a few additional years of Margot Kidder, who moved on to the next plane of existence in May 2018 at 69.

Arguably, no major DC character has evolved and improved over the decades more than Lois Lane. Once a bumbling, air-headed klutz in constant need of rescue, today's Lois is a world-famous journalist and media personality, generally depicted as a savvier operator than her Kryptonian husband. Now and again, Lois does her own fair share of meta-human adjacent crime fighting, albeit in a far less conspicuous capacity than her spouse or most of his colleagues.

Kidder appears in all the "Superman" films co-starring Reeve, and we need only focus on "Superman II" for examples of Kidder helping undo the perception of Lois as a mere damsel in distress. Kidder's Lois isn't oblivious; she's occasionally reckless, but only when journalistic truth is at stake. Unlike previous iterations, Kidder's Lois figures out that her bumbling co-worker and the literal benevolent space god that follows her around happen to be the same guy, setting a precedent for future Lois Lanes who don't buy that silly glasses disguise either.  

Michael Gough attended to three different Dark Knights

The quartet of Batman films starting with "Batman" (1989) and ending with "Batman and Robin" (1997) can feel a little disjointed. Beginning in a gloomy, quirky iteration of Gotham directed by Tim Burton and ending with a candy-coated cartoon fever dream imaged by Joel Schumacher, the series foregoes a solid sense of consistency ... except when it comes to Alfred. 

Veteran British actor Michael Gough holds down the fort as Batman's congenial butler Alfred Pennyworth in all four films, including "Batman Returns" (1992) and "Batman Forever" (1995). As is more-or-less customary for Alfred, Gough's version functions as a voice of reason throughout Batman's adventures. While he's more than happy to help Bruce and his sidekicks save the world, he'd sleep a little easier if his surrogate son could just get set up with a nice girl and hang up the vampire costume.

Gough's TV, film, and theater career started in the mid-1940s, so to say there was a little more to his career than his run as Alfred would be a substantial understatement. Gough passed on in March 2011 at 94, roughly a mere six years short of triple digits.  

Jeep Swenson was the Bane of Batman fans' existence

During the period between "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012) and "Suicide Squad" (2016), we're pretty sure Bane was tied with The Joker and Two-Face as the only male Batman villains to each appear in a pair of modern blockbusters. With all due respect to Jeep Swenson, who portrayed the venomed-up villain in "Batman and Robin," it's probably fair to say audiences prefer the version of Bane played by Tom Hardy in "The Dark Knight Rises." But we don't say that to diminish Swenson's acting abilities. After all, the problems with "Batman and Robin" extend far beyond its presentation of Bane.  

Swenson caught more than one significant crummy break during his essentially successful career, in which he spent time in multiple sections of the entertainment industry. His tenure with the once prominent but currently defunct World Championship Wrestling might have lasted longer had that organization's creative department come up with a less aggressively offensive and anti-Semitic name for him than "The Final Solution."  Swenson left existence as we know it shortly after the release of "Batman and Robin" in 1997, at the age of 40. 

William Hootkins's Lt. Eckhardt fell foul of the Joker

You might not immediately recognize his name; but we assure you, you know William Hootkins. 

He's noted here specifically for his turn as the corrupt Lt. Eckhardt in "Batman" and, to a lesser extent, for the solemn duty of performing in "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace" in the guise of Harry Howler. But the character actor had a few more notable credits. For instance, ever heard of this movie from the 1970s called "Star Wars"? In that film, his character, named Porkins, pilots a ship called an X-Wing and attacks a moon-sized space station known as the Death Star. Believe it not, it was considered a pretty successful project at the time! Even inspired a few sequels. Who could have guessed?

Though known for bit parts in Hollywood, his reputation in London's theater scene was a different story. His obituary cites his ongoing starring role in the play "Hitchcock Blonde" as his career's greatest triumph. But for actors with as many projects under their belt as Hootkins — a onetime high school classmate of Tommy Lee Jones — what they're "known for" becomes a matter of subjectivity in some respects. He died in 2005 at the age of 57. 

Pat Hingle also anchored four Batman movies

Throughout the last handful of decades, the character of Commissioner James Gordon has been defined by his depiction in writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli's "Batman: Year One" (1987), which is continued via Gary Oldman in the post-2000 trilogy of Batman movies directed by Christopher Nolan. We think of Gordon as a morally upright and extra-competent realist, who's nevertheless willing to bend the rules in the interest of justice. For better or worse, that means the bumbling iteration of Gordon played by Pat Hingle in the first series of modern Batman movies, which is in keeping with the previous version played by Neil Hamilton on the 1966 "Batman" TV show, doesn't resonate as an "authentic" Gordon for reasons totally unrelated to the actors involved.  

As far as Hingle goes, he enjoyed a career that resonated far beyond Gotham, having worked in a staggering array of movies, TV shows, and stage plays. He acted alongside Clint Eastwood, Marlon Brando, Sally Field, Warren Beatty, and The Muppets, so maybe it doesn't matter so much if he isn't anyone's personal favorite James Gordon. Hingle died in 2009 at the age of 84.     

Jan Hooks tried to put gloves on a Penguin

A fixture of televised comedy since her late '80s stint on "Saturday Night Live," with subsequent recurring roles on "The Simpsons" and "3rd Rock From the Sun," Jan Hooks did not need to pretend to work in image consulting in "Batman Returns" to secure her showbiz legacy. But her metaphorical cup of coffee in one of the DC Cinematic Universes certainly didn't hurt her, right? 

Evil businessman Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) hires her character to explain stuff to presumptive Gotham City mayoral candidate The Penguin (Danny DeVito), like why voters prefer fingers to flippers — and in doing so, reminds us of a time when a Batman movie could include a joke or two without anyone considering it a problem. 

The Tim Burton-directed sequel to "Batman" isn't Hooks's only DC-related credit. She also plays a woman who claims to be raising Superman's love child on CBS-TV's "Superman 50th Anniversary Special" (1988), a lighthearted slice of Superman ephemera also featuring Dana Carvey, The Amazing Kreskin, and Lou Reed. Hooks moved on to her next life in 2014 at 57 years old.      

Rick Zumwalt was killed by...the Batman?

While Hollywood knew him for his contributions to "Batman Returns" and Sylvester Stallone's "Over The Top" (1987), Rick Zumwalt began his career as an arm wrestling champion in the 1970s. This aspect of his biography leads us to suspect that he required no CG enhancements to look like a totally huge dude during his "Batman Returns" scene, in which Batman blows Zumwalt's character, "Tattooed Strongman," to bits faster than you can say, "But wait, doesn't Batman have a rule against killing people?" 

Zumwalt also racked up an impressive list of television credits, including guest roles on "Freddy's Nightmares," "Jake and the Fatman," "Full House," and many others. We're fairly certain that he's the only actor to ever get killed by Batman onscreen, and also shares a scene on "Full House" with "Uncle" Jesse Katsopolis (John Stamos), in which he lends his massive arms to aid Uncle Jesse in his quest to recover Michelle Tanner's stolen pink tricycle. Zumwalt passed on in 2003 at the age of 51.

Vincent Schiavelli didn't monkey around as an actor

Danny DeVito's Penguin recruits a wide variety of minions for his crime spree in "Batman Returns," although they don't all have obvious utilitarian value. If you're putting together a gang to inflict the maximum amount of violence and mayhem, then why bother signing up an organ grinder? Penguin's thinking may be too sophisticated for online content creators like us to comprehend, so we just have to take it on faith that the musical accompaniment produced by Vincent Schiavelli's character, plus the amusement provided by his dancing monkey, were essential to Oswald Cobblepot's diabolical machinations. 

Beyond the confines of "Batman Returns," Schiavelli carved out a niche as one of the great character actors of his era with turns in "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest" (1975), "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982), "Amadeus" (1984), and "Ghost" (1990). "X-Files" fans may recognize him from the cult favorite episode "Humbug," in which he guest stars along with Michael J. Anderson and Jim Rose, founder of the circus of the same name. Schiavelli passed away in 2005 at the age of 57. 

Rene Auberjonois ran Arkham Asylum

A high-ranking staff member at Arkham Asylum who happens to be named "Dr. Burton" isn't even close to the goofiest thing in "Batman Forever." But creating a toss-away character for the purposes of delivering a good-natured dig at director Tim Burton, who oversaw the previous two Batman films, feels like a cheeky move on the part of director Joel Schumacher.   

We suppose it would be disappointing for René Auberjonois if his only major acting work consisted of a brief scene as a gag character at the end of a lesser Batman movie, but that's not even close to the case. Though he either contributed a physical or vocal performance to an insane amount of TV shows, including numerous DC and Marvel animated projects, Auberjonois is most widely remembered as Odo on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." He died in 2019 — not long after the release of the critically-beloved "First Cow," one of his last movies — at the age of 79.    

Lane Smith was Lois and Clark's boss

With his most recent on-screen iteration inhabited by film and television icon Laurence Fishburne, we could argue Daily Planet editor Perry White has evolved into something of a prestige role. But Lois and Clark's boss doesn't get to a place where Warner Brothers calls someone of Fishburne's caliber to play him unless a bunch of stellar actors pave the way. Lane Smith put enough memorable work into Perry White on "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" for at least one person to assemble a highlight reel, but the world outside of superhero fandom probably recognizes him more readily for his role in "My Cousin Vinny" (1992).

But even if you're not a "My Cousin Vinny" fan, Smith's career started in the mid-1960s and carried on until his death in 2003, so there's plenty of other stuff you might know him from: the original "V" series, "Son In Law" (1993) starring a pre-downfall Pauly Shore, and as the nefarious Coach Reilly in "The Mighty Ducks" (1992). Lane Smith passed away in 2005 at the age of 69.

Eddie Jones was a Pa Kent who stayed alive

Just as the current era associates Perry White with Lawrence Fishburne, today's moviegoers may hear the phrase "Superman's dad" and think of Kevin Costner. But before Costner came along in "Man of Steel" (2013), Eddie Jones held down the fort as Jonathan Kent in the mid-'90s. 

Jones portrays one of the relatively few Jonathan Kents who lives long enough to see his adopted son grow up to be the world's premiere superhero. Whereas Costner's Jonathan Kent inexplicably dies to teach Clark why helping people is bad sometimes, Jones's Jonathan Kent is clearly still alive in a scene with his adult Superman son (Dean Cain).

Jones maintained a healthy track record as a film and television performer starting from the late '50s. But superhero nerds would know him mainly from "Lois and Clark" and as Malcolm the clown pilot in "The Rocketeer" (1991), helmed by future "Captain America: The First Avenger" (2011) director Joe Johnston. Jones died in July 2019 at the age of 84. 

Harve Presnell's Sam Lane clashed with daughter Lois

Sam Lane doesn't always get to live up to his full potential in live-action Superman iterations, so in a way, it's unfortunate that we must gloss over Harve Presnell's role as Lois Lane's estranged father on "Lois and Clark" to discuss his more significant work. 

The writer-director team of Joel and Ethan Coen put themselves on Hollywood's radar with "Blood Simple" (1984), but they didn't demonstrate their full mastery of small town murder drama until "Fargo" (1996). Used car salesman Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) hires a pair of hit men (Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare) for an elaborate kidnapping scheme designed to scam his father-in-law (Presnell). The situation collapses into a tragic, bloody shambles. Frances McDormand plays officer Marge Gunderson, a no-nonsense law enforcer who must right Lundegaard's many wrongs. 

The American Film Institute ranks "Fargo" as one of the top 100 films of all time, and it would be a completely different movie without the veteran Presnell's conjuring of Wade Gustafson — Lundegaard's overbearing father-in-law and would-be mark. Presnell died in 2009 at the age of 75.     

Fred Willard as President? Heck, yes!

Here's where we confess that calling screen comedy legend Fred Willard a "DC actor" is insanely reductive, and the same statement applies to a handful of entries on this list. But the mere fact that Willard — whose oblivious game show host-like persona added to the satirical irony of "This Is Spinal Tap" (1984), "Best In Show" (2000) and "Anchorman" (2004) — technically falls into the criteria of "DC actor" reminds us how deeply Superman and company had been embedded into pop culture, even decades before the modern superhero movie boom. 

Willard played the President of the United States on Lois and Clark, as well as the Deputy Mayor of Metropolis in the Superman 50th Anniversary Special. Somehow, in Superman-related media, Willard kept finding his way into positions of political power. We'd chalk that up to coincidence, if we believed in coincidence. Willard passed away in May 2020 at the age of 86.

Biff Manard kept up with The Flash

The single-season TV show "The Flash" from the early '90s never managed to amass the retro-cool credibility of "Batman" from 1966 or "Wonder Woman" from 1975. There's probably multiple reasons for that, but a glance at the show's intro music and opening credits indicates that somebody in charge wanted very much for The Flash of network television to be the Batman of Tim Burton films. CBS didn't have the budget, and Barry Allen (John Wesley Shipp) didn't have the angst to fulfill that expectation. 

That's kind of unfortunate for Biff Manard; he appears in 17 out of the 22-episode run of "The Flash." That's not to say he didn't have a more-than-respectable career and legacy without an additional year of playing ersatz Commissioner Gordon — that is, Officer Michael Murphy — to Shipp's title hero. Manard shows up in both entries of the cult sci-fi series "Trancers," and acted on a score of television shows throughout the '80s and '90s. He died in 2014 at the age of 71.   

Lee Thompson Young briefly played Cyborg

Cyborg has enjoyed something of a live action revival as of late. As played by Ray Fisher, he got a heck of a lot more screen time in the recently-released "Zack Snyder's Justice League" than he did in the original edit, while an iteration played by Joivan Wade has regularly appeared on HBO Max's "Doom Patrol" series. But back in the 2000s, when studio executives falsely assumed television could only handle one DC-based primetime drama at a time, Lee Thompson Young was mass media's one and only, flesh-and-blood Victor Stone. 

Though he only drops by for three hour-long adventures with Clark Kent (Tom Welling) on "Smallville," Young's version of Stone gets to be a co-founder of the Justice League alongside Green Arrow (Justin Hartley). That means the onetime "Friday Night Lights" and "Famous Joe Jackson" star definitely set some of the groundwork for Ray Fisher's tenure with the character. Young, unfortunately, died by his own hand in 2013 at the age of 29. 

Rutger Hauer almost snatched Wayne Enterprises from Bruce Wayne

Perhaps you already know that Rutger Hauer — certainly one of the most recognized character actors in sci-fi/fantasy — died in July 2019. And maybe you also already know he played the nefarious Wayne Enterprises executive credited only as "Earle" in "Batman Begins" (2005). But we're certain not everyone reading this has picked up on both of these truisms.

While we left Heath Ledger and Christopher Reeve off this list because they're both highly-publicized celebrity deaths, their careers are both also closely associated with their tenures as major DC characters. Hauer, on the other hand, is probably too famous for the relatively minor part he plays in "Batman Begins." We happen to know it's possible to watch multiple screenings of "Batman Begins," and still not notice that's classic "Blade Runner" antagonist Roy Batty reassuring Bruce Wayne that he's got the best interests of the Wayne legacy at heart. 

Though Earle isn't a major part of "Batman Begins," "The Dark Knight" (2008) wouldn't be the same movie if Bruce Wayne hadn't overcome a sleazy corporate ladder climber in the first part of the trilogy. Ergo, we can say there are two indispensable sci-fi/fantasy/action franchises that wouldn't be the same today without Hauer.   

Tom Lister Jr. foiled the Joker's plan

Heath Ledger's once-in-a-generation performance as the Joker tends to gobble up a huge chunk of the discourse when it comes to "The Dark Knight," and rightfully so. But it's unfortunate how matters related to the Joker overshadow so many other components of Christopher Nolan's tour de force. Tom "Tiny" Lister Jr. only spends a few moments onscreen, but as the "tattooed inmate" who protects a ship full of civilians by tossing the switch to one of the Joker's bombs into the ocean, he certainly makes those few moments count. 

Lister's poignant appearance in "The Dark Knight" isn't necessarily his most impressive career accomplishment. Back in the '80s, Lister went by the alias of "Zeus" and main-evented the 1989 "SummerSlam" pay-per-view card, teaming with "Macho Man" Randy Savage against the tandem of Hulk Hogan and Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake. The second phase of Lister's resume includes featured roles in "The Dark Knight," "Friday" (1995), "The Fifth Element" (1997), "Jackie Brown" (1997), plus dozens of television shows and films. Basically, he's a wrestling-to-Hollywood success story that predates Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Dave Bautista by a few decades. Lister passed away in December 2020 at the age of 62.

Logan WIlliams was a young Barry Allen

Logan Williams appears as young Barry Allen in flashback and time travel sequences during the first two seasons of CW's "The Flash." He also had a recurring role on the Hallmark Channel period drama "When Calls The Heart," and landed his first role in the Hallmark movie "The Color of Rain" at the age of 10. He died in 2020 at 16 years old, after a three-year battle with opioid addiction. His mother Marlyse said at the time, "His death is not going to be in vain ... he's going to help a lot of people down the road."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 69,000 people in the U.S. died from overdosing on synthetic opioids in 2020. Sadly, Logan Williams was one of those statistics far too early into his life and what should have been a long and promising career.

Lyle Waggoner was Wonder Woman's first live-action love

Seeing how the "Wonder Woman" live-action TV series premiered some 48 years ago, it's not exactly surprising to learn that a good portion of the cast of Wonder Woman's first foray into the live-action realm are no longer among us. But having passed on in March 2020 at the age of 84, Lyle Waggoner, the original on-screen Steve Trevor, was one of the few still standing before he departed for realms unknown. 

Already famous for his work on "The Carol Burnett Show" by the time Princess Diana of Themyscira entered his career, Waggoner remained a fairly constant presence on television after the four-season run of "Wonder Woman" concluded in 1979. His post-"WW" resume includes guest roles on "The Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," and "Murder She Wrote." 

As it happens, Waggoner found his way back into DC superhero-adjacent television with a voiceover gig on the straight-to-TV film, "Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt" (2003), a tongue-in-cheek, meta-sequel to the 1966 "Batman" series. 

Beatrice Colen provided a friend to Wonder Woman

Few comic book characters have proven themselves as elastic as Etta Candy. In some iterations of Wonder Woman's story, Candy lives during World War I; in others, she's a secretary for the Allied Forces during World War II. In contemporary comic books, Candy's a high-ranking military official herself, rather than an executive assistant. In '80s comic books, she dates Steve Trevor; in more recent comics, she dates Barbara Minerva. But Etta Candy's almost always a good pal to Princess Diana, so her most important in-story attribute remains consistent as heck. 

Beatrice Colen, who played Etta on the mid-1970s "Wonder Woman" TV show, unfortunately left after the conclusion of its first season in 1977. The show found a way for Princess Diana to travel to the present era, but not her quirky sidekick. Colen nevertheless held down a semi-regular role on "Happy Days," and continued contributing walk-on roles to network television shows. She finally wrapped up her career with a part on "The Secret World of Alex Mack" in 1997, and died in 1999 at just 51 years of age. 

Paul Reubens played the Penguin's dad -- twice

Though Paul Reubens' place in pop culture history was assured by his most beloved creation, Pee-wee Herman, the actor-comedian also played a variety of other roles, some of which trucked in not-so-funny territory. Case in point: "Batman Returns," which reunited Reubens with "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" director Tim Burton. He played Tucker Cobblepot, a Gotham City district attorney who is horrified to discover that his infant son, Oswald, is physically disfigured (fellow "Pee-wee" castmate Diane Salinger played his wife, Esther). Cobblepot abandons his child, who is subsequently raised by emperor penguins at the Old Gotham City Zoo and later becomes the monstrous Penguin (Danny DeVito).

Reubens also went dark as a drug dealer in "Blow," as the restless ghost of a suicide victim in "Life During Wartime," and as the strange Mr. Vargas on five episodes of "The Blacklist." He also played Elijah Van Dahl, a more sympathetic version of the Penguin's father, on three episodes of "Gotham," and voiced several DC characters, including Bat-Mite, the Riddler, and the dybbuk Mike the Spike on "Batman: The Brave and the Bold," the "Robot Chicken DC Comics Specials," and "DC's Legends of Tomorrow," respectively. Reubens' death from cancer at the age of 70 on July 30, 2023, was mourned by fans and collaborators alike.

Kevin Conroy voiced Batman for decades

Though numerous actors have attempted to put their individual stamp on the physicality of Batman, one performer largely defined the Dark Knight's voice for more than three decades. Voice actor Kevin Conroy debuted as Batman in Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski's Emmy-winning "Batman: The Animated Series" in 1992 and continued to voice the character in dozens and dozens of projects, including other DC Animated Universe series, feature films ("Batman: Mask of the Phantasm") and video games. Conroy also played the Earth-99 variant of Bruce Wayne on the CW's live-action Arrowverse crossover event "Crisis on Infinite Earths."

Conroy, who studied acting at Juilliard, began his career in the theater and amassed a sizable number of live-action television credits, including recurring roles on "Dynasty" and "Tour of Duty." In addition to his many turns as Batman, Conroy also lent his distinctive voice to such animated series as "The Venture Brothers," "Ben 10: Alien Force," and "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe." In 2022, Conroy penned "Finding Batman," which detailed how his own troubled childhood and experiences as a gay man informed his portrayal of Batman, for "DC Pride 2022." Conroy died of intestinal cancer at the age of 66 on November 10, 2022; his final performance as Batman will be featured in Rocksteady Games' "Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League" in 2024.

Arleen Sorkin inspired the creation of Harley Quinn

Though created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, the DC antihero Harley Quinn also owes a debt to actress Arleen Sorkin for her iconic look, voice, and attitude. Dini, who knew Sorkin from college, saw a compilation reel of her appearances as the eccentric Calliope Jones on "Days of Our Lives," which included a scene in which she was dressed as a jester. The scene inspired Dini and Timm to create Harley Quinn, a wise-cracking henchwoman and foil for the Joker on "Batman: The Animated Series," and they tapped Sorkin to voice the character. She went on to play Quinn in five other animated series and numerous video games.

Sorkin began her career in sketch comedy before earning her breakout role as Calliope on "Days." She logged more than 400 appearances on the daytime soap, as well as recurring and guest shots on series like "Duet" and "Frasier." Additionally, Sorkin wrote episodes of "Tiny Toon Adventures," created the short-lived sitcom "Fired Up," and co-produced a 2010 documentary on Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Sorkin, who was married to television producer Christopher Lloyd ("Modern Family"), died of complications from pneumonia and multiple sclerosis on August 24, 2023.

Adam West rode the '60s Batmania wave

From the mid-1960s until Tim Burton's 1989 film "Batman," Adam West was the on-screen face and voice of Batman for a generation of audiences. West played both the Caped Crusader and his dashing alter ego, Bruce Wayne, on ABC's "Batman" series from 1966 to 1968, but was unable to parlay that show's brief but meteoric fame into a more substantial acting career. Like George Reeves and many other actors who played superheroes, West found Batman to be a blessing and a curse: it elevated him to stardom but also became a glass ceiling through which he was unable to break for decades.

Perseverance and a willingness to spoof his screen persona led to West's revival as a comic actor and voice performer in the 1990s and 2000s. He appeared, often as a smug version of himself, in series like "King of Queens" and "The Drew Carey Show," as well as films like "Drop Dead Gorgeous," and he voiced numerous characters in animated series, including the deranged mayor on "Family Guy." He also reteamed with "Batman" co-star Burt Ward to reprise their roles in animated form for two features, including "Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders" in 2016. West's death from leukemia at the age of 88 on June 9, 2017, was commemorated by the city of Los Angeles, which shone the Bat-Signal on City Hall on June 15 of that year.

Tom Sizemore was a biker on Lucifer

Season 1, Episode 6 of "Lucifer," titled "Favorite Son," introduced viewers to Hank Cutter, president of the Los Diablos motorcycle club, whom Lucifer and Chloe suspect as the chief culprit behind the theft of a shipping container belonging to the Prince of Darkness from a warehouse. Hank proves to be anything but the typical biker captain: though he looks tough as nails, what Hank really wants to do is start his own clothing line. He doesn't even like riding his bike (it's bad for his prostate).

Tom Sizemore was in the midst of a comeback when he appeared as Hank Cutter on "Lucifer." A substance abuse problem and other personal issues had caused the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominee to fall far from his status as a popular character actor in films like "Saving Private Ryan," "Heat," and "Natural Born Killers." After stints in rehab and jail in the 2010s, Sizemore began to rebuild his screen career, largely through recurring roles on "Hawaii Five-0," "The Red Road," and the 2017 revival of "Twin Peaks."

However, Sizemore was hospitalized after experiencing a brain aneurysm and stroke at his home in Los Angeles on February 18, 2023. Doctors informed his family on February 27 that there was no chance of recovery, and his family made an end-of-life decision for the 61-year-old actor. He died on March 3, 2023.

Lance Reddick armed Jonah Hex

Warner Bros.'s 2010 feature version of DC's weird Western title "Jonah Hex" was an unmitigated disaster upon release — even star Josh Brolin loathes it – but you can't place the blame on its cast. Among those supporting Brolin were Michael Fassbender, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Michael Shannon, and briefly, Lance Reddick. The "John Wick" star plays a general store owner who also supplies Hex with his heavy-duty weaponry.

A one-time music student who released an album of contemporary jazz in 2010, Reddick began acting in the late 1990s and earned his first big break as Baltimore police lieutenant (and later commissioner) Cedric Daniels on "The Wire." The critical success of that series led to steady work for Reddick in character roles, often as authority figures, on series like "Lost, "Bosch," and "Resident Evil," and in films like the "John Wick" tetralogy — which cast him as the Continental's concierge, Charon — as well as "White House Down" and "Godzilla vs. Kong." Reddick died of heart disease at the age of 60 at his home in Los Angeles, California on March 17, 2023.

John Heard voiced a Challenger of the Unknown

Among the huge cast of DC heroes and villains in the 2008 DC Universe Animated Original Movie "Justice League: The New Frontier" is pilot Kyle "Ace" Morgan, who helps battle the monster-spawning, sentient landmass The Centre. In the film, Morgan is joined by a quartet of fellow adventurers whom longtime DC devotees know as the original lineup of the Challengers of the Unknown, one of the imprint's many "conventional" (non-superpowered) teams, which has existed in various iterations since 1957.

Voicing Ace in "New Frontier" was Emmy-nominated actor John Heard, a familiar face to movie and TV audiences for over four decades. He began his career on stage before transitioning to features in the late 1970s; turns as angst-ridden young men in films like "Cutter's Way" eventually led to more conventional lead and supporting roles in films like Martin Scorsese's "After Hours," "Big," "Awakenings," and "The Pelican Brief." Though never a box office draw, Heard did appear in a number of hit films, including "Home Alone" and its sequel as Kevin McAllister's dad.

He netted his Emmy nomination as crooked detective Vin Makazian on "The Sopranos" and logged numerous guest appearances on series like "Law and Order," "CSI: Miami" and "Entourage." Married three times, including a six-day union to Margot Kidder, Heard died of heart disease at the age of 71 on July 21, 2017.

Walking Dead actor Moses J. Moseley also appeared on Watchmen

Actor Moses J. Moseley was perhaps best known as one of Michonne's "pet zombies" on six episodes of "The Walking Dead." But the former model appeared in numerous other film and TV projects, ranging from leads and supporting turns in independent films like "Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies" to minor appearances in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and HBO's 2019 adaptation of DC's "Watchmen." However, his promising career was cut short by his death in 2022.

According to an autopsy report obtained by TMZ, Moseley was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia in late January 2022. The examining doctor, Rachel Geller, M.D., wrote that the autopsy "does not establish suicidal intent" (via People.com). The coroner's office was able to determine that Moseley was in good health and tested negative for drugs or alcohol, and the report concluded by noting, "If more information becomes available, this case may be revisited."

Charlbi Dean battled Black Lightning

A recurring and guest character in Seasons 1 and 2 of "Black Lightning," Syonide was an enforcer for the criminal empire known as the 100. A protégé of mob boss Tobias Whale, she's outfitted with body armor implanted in her skin that makes her impervious to most injuries and a formidable opponent for Black Lightning and his associates. However, she proves no match for ASA spotter Kara Howdy, who dispatches her with a pair of shoes with blades concealed in the heels (!).

Charlbi Dean was in the process of transitioning from model to actress when she was cast as Syonide on "Black Lightning." At the time, Syonide was the South African performer's most high-profile role for Western audiences, though she had appeared in several comedies in her native country, as well as features like "Death Race 3: Inferno" which were lensed in South Africa. Her turn as a model trapped on a disastrous ocean voyage in the Oscar-nominated 2022 dark comedy "Triangle of Sadness" was considered by critics as her breakout performance, but it proved to be her final screen project: Dean died on August 29, 2022. An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was sepsis caused by the bacteria Capnocytophaga, which spread through her system because Dean's spleen had been removed after a 2008 car accident.

Julian Sands was Superman's father on TV

British actor Julian Sands played a crucial figure in Superman's mythos in Seasons 9 and 10 of "Smallville." Sands played Jor-El, the Kryptonian scientist who sends his son, Kal-El, to Earth to avoid their planet's destruction. He also transfers his own brainwaves into his son's spacecraft, providing him with the superior intellect to become Superman. "Smallville" wasn't Sands' only foray into DC projects: he also played Dr. Gerald Crane, father of the Scarecrow, on "Gotham."

Sands rose to fame in the 1980s playing diametrically opposite romantic characters: Helena Bonham Carter's free-thinking love interest in "A Room with a View" and a haunted Percy Bysshe Shelley in "Gothic." He soon proved adept at a wide array of characters, from a malevolent spellcaster in "Warlock" and a dashing entomologist in "Arachnophobia" to a vicious pimp in "Leaving Las Vegas." No part proved too offbeat for Sands: he was a centipede in human form in David Cronenberg's "Naked Lunch," the title character in Dario Argento's "The Phantom of the Opera," and even the voice of a cat in "Bobbleheads: The Movie."

Between these assignments were numerous television roles ("24," "Dexter"), stage work, and voiceovers for video games. An avid hiker, Sands disappeared in California's San Gabriel Mountains in January 2023; human remains found in the area on June 24, 2023, were positively identified as the 65-year-old actor, whose cause of death remains undetermined.

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