Voice Actors Will Friedle And Christy Carlson Romano Get Candid About Their Mentors, Including Batman Icon Kevin Conroy

Kevin Conroy on Batwoman
(Image credit: The CW)

If you grew up in the 1990s or early 2000s and paid attention to Disney Channel and ABC’s TGIF block, then chances are you remember Will Friedle from his time as Eric Matthews on Boy Meets World, and Christy Carlson Romano for playing Ren Stevens on Even Stevens. That said, Friedle and Romano are also accomplished voice actors, including both of them having starred together on Kim Possible as Kim herself and Ron Stoppable, respectively. While recently chatting with CinemaBlend, the actors went over the mentors they had in the voice acting field, and that included Batman icon Kevin Conroy, who passed away last November.

Our own Erik Swann got to speak with Will Friedle and Christy Carlson Romano on behalf of the their voice acting-centric podcast I Hear Voices, so naturally it made sense to go over the actors who showed them the ropes when it came to this kind of performing. Starting off, Will Friedle, who made his first big splash in the voice acting realm playing Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond, which co-starred Kevin Conroy as the elderly Bruce Wayne. Friedle explained how helpful Conroy was to him in those early voice acting days with the following:

Kevin Conroy was my first mentor, my only real voiceover mentor. I've had many people that I've admired that have certainly helped me out, but Kevin really went out of his way to make me feel comfortable to teach me the ropes. And I got to sit next to him, you know, every week for five years as we were doing the show. He's a special man… was a special man. God, I’m not even used to talking about him in the past tense. And so there will never be anybody like him. And he was, he is Batman to me, and he was absolutely the person that helped to make me who I was in the voiceover industry.

By the time Batman Beyond premiered, Kevin Conroy had already given a bunch of great performances as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures. So along with being well acquainted DC’s Caped Crusader, he had nearly a decade of voice acting experience under his belt, but rather than solely make sure he was effectively delivering his lines, Conroy also made sure to give pointers to Will Friedle as he was taking the first steps on his voice acting journey. Friedle and Conroy would go on to reprise Terry and Bruce together in three Justice League Unlimited episodes, the Static Shock episode “Future Shock” and the Batman Beyond short illustrated by Darwin Cooke for Batman’s 75th anniversary.

As for Christy Carlson Romano, she highlighted voice director Lisa Schaffer as her main mentor when it came to voice acting, with these two having worked together alongside Will Friedle on Kim Possible. Romano recalled her experience working with Schaffer thusly:

I'm gonna go out and say Lisa Schaffer. I’m gonna say Lisa Schaffer because she shaped my take on who Kim was day in and day out. … We've had her as a guest [on our podcast]. She was our director, you know, our animation voice director for Kim Possible, and sort of coming into it as a 16 [or] 17-year-old girl approaching Kim, I brought that effervescence and some of that sarcasm and the, you know, grit that she needed. But at the same time, you need mentorship through that, that's like non-judgmental and sort of empowering, especially for a Kim Possible character, right? So Lisa Shaffer, [I take] my hat off to her because she really did help me through that for many years.

Kim Possible ran for five seasons, plus two TV movies, from 2002 to 2007, and it was the longest-running Disney Channel Original Series until Phineas & Ferb surpassed it in 2012. Christy Carlson Romano went on to lend her vocals to projects like Family Guy, Casper’s Scare School, The Penguins of Madagascar and Big Hero 6: The Series, and she has Lisa Schaffer to thank for getting her voice acting career off to a great start, especially at a time when the actress hadn’t even hit adulthood yet. Romano also got to revisit the world of Kim Possible a few years back by playing pop singer Poppy Blu in the live-action TV film adaptation.

Erik Swann’s conversation with Will Friedle and Christy Carlson Romano also included how they would feel about Boy Meets World and Even Stevens getting animated reboots, as well as how they “can’t get away” from the impact of Kim Possible’s legacy all these years later. If you’re interested in hearing Friedle and Romano interview fellow voice actors, take a look through I Hear Voices’ catalog of episodes from the past year.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.