HomeTelevisionCouch Potato – Remembering Kevin Conroy and Jason David Frank

Couch Potato – Remembering Kevin Conroy and Jason David Frank

Late last year, two famed actors tragically passed away within 10 days of one another.

The first was Kevin Conroy, who is best known for playing Batman/Bruce Wayne in Batman: The Animated Series but would go on to reprise the role in several shows, video games, and animated films over a span of 30 years.

The second was Jason David Frank, the marital artist and actor who most famously played Tommy Oliver/the White Ranger/the Green Ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers but would also return the role several times in later series within the franchise. For many fans, including yours truly, these actors are synonymous with their respective creative universes.

Voicing Batman for generations of fans, Conroy portrayed the iconic hero longer than any other actor, and it is his voice that many of us hear when we read comic books featuring the Dark Knight. Frank, meanwhile, depicted the most well-known and popular Power Ranger throughout the long running franchise, so much so that his character was met with reverence and awe every time he encountered a new iteration of Power Rangers in various crossovers and specials. Both actors touched the lives of countless fans through their performances and participation in conventions and are responsible for bringing two of my childhood heroes to life. As Bruce Wayne and Tommy Oliver, Conroy and Frank taught invaluable lessons about the world that resonate with me to this day.

With Batman: The Animated Series and Conroy’s other depictions of Batman, this writer learned the importance of finding meaning and purpose in tragedy. While fighting crime as a masked vigilante is admittedly not the healthiest way to process trauma, the series revealed how someone could channel pain and loss to help others, as Bruce Wayne did with Dick Grayson, Tim Drake, and (later in Batman Beyond) Terry McGinnis. And though recruiting children into a war against crime may not be the most ethically sound decision, Conroy’s Batman demonstrated that someone could cope with grief by mentoring and supporting people who suffered similar losses.

Meanwhile, Frank’s transformation from the evil Green Ranger to the heroic White Ranger helped me understand that redemption was possible for all who are humble enough to pursue it. After battling and nearly destroying the Power Rangers, Tommy Oliver’s willingness to join the team as an act of penance illustrated that forgiveness can be earned through deeds. From there, eventually becoming the leader of three teams of Power Rangers (Mighty Morphin, Zeo, and Turbo), Tommy proved that people could rise above their mistakes and become better versions of themselves.

Perhaps the greatest lesson that both Conroy and Frank’s characters taught, though, was the power of found family. Whether it was the Bat-Family or the Power Rangers, these actors’ characters demonstrated that all of us can find strength in others who share our interests, values, and goals. While Kevin Conroy and Jason David Frank are no longer with us, they live on in the communities of fans they helped build around the world. United by our shared memories of and experiences with these treasured actors, we as fans remain a tribute to their ability to entertain, uplift, and inspire.

Josh Sarnecky
Josh Sarnecky
Josh Sarnecky is one of Pop Break's staff writers and covers Voltron: Legendary Defender, Game of Thrones, and Stranger Things. His brother, Aaron, also writes for the website, but Josh is the family’s reigning Trivial Pursuit: Star Wars champion.

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