It’s been a rough couple years for us Batfans. With this news, it marks seven important figures in our collective childhoods and fandoms that have passed away. First off, Lorenzo Semple Jr., developer of the 1966 Batman series passed in March, as well as Eli Wallach, one of the Mr. Freeze’s to grace that show. Casey Kasem, the voice of Robin throughout the Superfriends years just recently passed. However, the three that hurt me most were from Batman: the Animated Series. In July of 2013, the world lost Michael Ansara, the voice of Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze. Following after him, last August, we lost Henry Polic II, original voice of Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow. And just two months ago, we lost Efrem Zimbalist Jr., the voice of Alfred Pennyworth.
The crushing news is that a couple day ago, Bob Hastings, voice of Commissioner James Gordon, has passed. After 15 years battling pancreatic cancer, the man finally succumbed to the disease on Monday, in his Burbank home. He was 89 years old.
Robert Hastings got his start in radio, but is mostly known for his appearances in many sitcoms including Green Acres, Car 54, Where Are You?, and Dennis the Menace as well as a stint on the long-running soap opera, General Hospital as Captain Burt Ramsey (Another police chief!). His voice roles also included the Raven in The Munsters and D.D. from the Clue Club. To non-Batfans, Hastings was known for his 4 years in MacHale’s Army, playing Lieutenant Elroy Carpenter. The character was known for being the dimwitted and inept flunky to Captain Wallace Binghamton.
Prior to B:TAS, Hastings was no stranger to DC characters, having lent his voice to the role of Superboy/Clark in the Batman/Superman Hour and The New Adventures of Superboy. Though he had no recurring role, he also appeared in Challenge of the Superfriends.
However, what we know him for playing the tough and committed Commissioner James Gordon of Batman: The Animated Series. After having to report the news on Zimbalist Jr.’s passing, this one was not an easy one. I’m positive I’m not the only one that always imagines Hastings’s voice when they pick up a comic and read any line of dialogue by Gordon. Though I’ve found fantastic performances in Bryan Cranston in Batman: Year One and Gary Oldman from the Dark Knight trilogy, Hastings remains my definitive Jim Gordon. His Gordon was stern, reasonable, and just as committed to justice as the Bats was. For me, it always felt like he represented justice in Bruce’s psyche while Batman represented vengeance (and the night). When one wants to remember one of his most memorable performances, one need to look no further then “Over the Edge,” when the unthinkable happens (not really) and he loses his only daughter and subsequent manhunt to find and subdue Batman.
You will be missed, Mr. Hastings.
Source – Burbank Leader