Batman Returns cast: Where are they now?

It's been over 30 years since the nightmarish Batman Returns haunted our screens for the first time. What is the cast of the Tim Burton movie up to these days?
Photo: Batman Returns.. Image Courtesy Warner Bros. / DC Universe
Photo: Batman Returns.. Image Courtesy Warner Bros. / DC Universe /

Batman Returns is truly one of the most unique superhero movies ever made. The same could be said about its status as a holiday movie, too. Honestly, it's neither one of those things, and yet both of them. Tim Burton's twisted masterpiece has stood the the test of time, regardless, kickstarting debates about what kind of movie it actually is. It's a thing of beauty, really.

It's hard to believe that it's been over three decades since it first hit screens all over the world. The outlandish spectacle was released in theaters in the summer of 1992, arriving on June 19, and went on to become one of that year's most talked-about movies. Boasting a star-studded cast that featured Michael Keaton in the title role, Michelle Pfeiffer as the scene-stealing Catwoman, and Danny DeVito as the horrifying Penguin, Batman Returns was a spectacle that audiences just couldn't look away from - even if it did ruffle a few feathers.

The movie wasn't as beloved as its 1989 predecessor when it was first released, but the adoration for it has grown over time, with many now regarding it among the best Batman, comic book, and holiday movies ever made. Its incredible cast is a big part of the reason why; so, with that in mind, let's take this opportunity to catch up with some of them 30 years later, while also sparing a thought for the cast members who are no longer with us.

Batman Returns, Michael Keaton
Photo: Batman Returns. Image Courtesy Warner Bros. / DC Universe /

Michael Keaton

The man behind the Bat, Michael Keaton was already a huge star by the time that he played The Dark Knight the first time around. Returning to the role was inevitable after Batman (1989)'s success and he delivered an even more memorable, stoic performance in the sequel.

Keaton was set to reprise the role in a third movie but the change-in-direction that Warner Bros. oversaw resulted in him exiting the franchise before Batman Forever came to fruition. But that wouldn't stop him from appearing in many memorable films throughout the '90s such as Much Ado About Nothing, The Paper, Jackie Brown, and Jack Frost. When the 2000s came, he wasn't as much of a regular on the big screen, but you could still catch him as the President in First Daughter, Lindsay Lohan's dad in Herbie: Fully Loaded and a police captain in The Other Guys.

After a number of supporting roles and voice performances, the next decade would bring him his biggest successes since Batman. His performance in 2014's Birdman reinvigorated his career, earning him a Golden Globe, as well as an Oscar nomination. This led to a series of major roles in movies such as Spotlight, and The Founder. He then returned to the superhero franchise in 2017 when he made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as iconic villain The Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

The 2020s would bring more success for him as his leading role in the Hulu drama series Dopesick earned him a long-overdue Emmy Award. This decade has also brought him back to his most famous role, as he donned the cape and cowl once more, appearing as Batman in 2023's The Flash movie. Needless to say, he was a show-stealer.

Keaton is also revisiting another one of his most legendary roles as he brings back Beetlejuice in the long-awaited sequel to the 1988 classic Beetlejuice Beetlejuice.

Batman Returns, Michelle Pfeiffer, Catwoman
On the set of Batman Returns / Sunset Boulevard/GettyImages

Michelle Pfeiffer

Michelle Pfeiffer may just be the MVP of Batman Returns. Her nuanced performance as the conflicted Selina Kyle redefined Catwoman for a modern audience, producing a femme fatale that audiences instantly fell in love with; and over three decades later, she remains unchallenged as the greatest on-screen portrayal of the character.

What is there to say about Michelle Pfeiffer that hasn't already been said? She was a titan of Hollywood before Batman Returns and she remained so after it, immediately following up her performance as Catwoman with a performance in Love Field, which earned her her third Academy Award nomination. Pfeiffer would then take regular breaks from Hollywood, balancing her career with some well-earned time to herself. As a result, she began to appear more sporadically throughout the '90s and the '00s, with roles in films such as The Age Of Innocence, Dangerous Minds, and What Lies Beneath.

She returned to the mainstream in 2007 with her back-to-back roles as villains in Hairspray (which reunited her with Batman Returns costar Christopher Walken) and Stardust. Her performance in 2017's Where Is Kyra? earned her critical acclaim while her outing in The Wizard Of Lies saw her receive her first Emmy nomination.

She has since returned to the superhero genre, playing Janet van Dyne (the original Wasp and mother of the current Wasp) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in Ant-Man and the Wasp, Avengers: Endgame, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania - with her performance in the latter earning praise from fans and critics.

Danny DeVito as The Penguin on the set of Batman Returns
On the set of Batman Returns / Sunset Boulevard/GettyImages

Danny DeVito

Few villains are as terrifying as The Penguin in Batman Returns. Tim Burton's creative mind reimagined the comic book mob boss as a nightmarish product of the sewer, who sought revenge on the city that he felt turned its back on him as an infant. There is an irony in the fact that Oswald Cobblepot was so terrifying, because it was comedian Danny DeVito underneath that ghoulish makeup, delivering a performance that has gone down in history as one of the greatest the genre has ever seen.

He had already enjoyed an immensely successful career prior to Batman Returns, with his iconic role on sitcom Taxi, and roles in films such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Terms of Endearment, and Twins establishing him as a household name. After playing The Penguin, the roles didn't stop, as he had immediate leading parts in Jack the Bear and Junior, before going on to appear in incredibly successful films Matilda and L.A. Confidential.

He continued to appear in films throughout the 1990s and 2000s such as Big Fish, Deck The Halls, and When In Rome, but he enjoyed more success by going back to his comedy TV roots. Since 2006, he has portrayed Frank Reynolds on the critically-acclaimed sitcom It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. When not doing that, he's acting on stage, having starred in the West End revival of The Sunshine Boys in 2013, while also appearing on Broadway in 2017's revival of The Price (which earned him a Tony nomination) and I Need That in 2023.

Christopher Walken, Batman Returns
"The Deer Hunter" Screening - 2024 De Niro Con / John Lamparski/GettyImages

Christopher Walken

Christopher Walken has a knack for bringing characters to life in a way that few others could. Look no further than his performance as Max Shreck in Batman Returns. The larger-than-life villain wasn't a comic book character, so the actor was free to put his own spin on him - and he did that with ease, with his memorable voice and effortless charisma really selling his performance. And if you had seen him in action prior to that movie, you would have known he was going to nail it.

Walken has enjoyed continued success on the silver screen since then, appearing in classics such as 1994's Pulp Fiction, Sleepy Hollow, and Man on Fire. His role in 2002's Catch Me If You Can earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, while the rest of the 2000s allowed him to show off his affinity for comedy, playing substantial roles in Wedding Crashers, Hairspray, and Seven Psychopaths. He played the title role in 2020's Percy for which he received critical acclaim and just recently made a comeback to mainstream movies with a major role as the Emperor in 2024's Dune: Part Two.

Mr. Walken is a legend of theater and he has returned to it on multiple occasions over the past three decades, even earning himself two Tony Award nominations (for his 2000 performance in The Dead and his 2010 performance in A Behanding in Spokane).

The movie star has spent more time on the small screen in recent years, starring in two TV shows at the same time! The first of those is The Outlaws, a British crime comedy in which he plays a former con living with his estranged family in the UK. The second is Severance, the Apple TV+ sci-fi thriller that earned him an Emmy nomination.

Michael Gough (1916 - 2011)

Michael Gough was one of the few actors from 1989's Batman to reprise his role in Batman Returns, but he was also one of the very few actors to appear in all four installments of the original Batman franchise, appearing in 1995's Batman Forever and its direct sequel, the infamous Batman and Robin (1997).

Alfred was a touch firmer in Returns, but we got to see his softer side in the latter two movies, which leaned into his bond with Bruce and established a kinship between him and Dick Grayson too. His fun side, however, came out in a series of commercials that saw Gough play the role again - first a Diet Coke ad in 1989, and a number of OnStar Commercials in 2000. And, after voicing the character in 1989 radio drama Batman: The Lazarus Syndrome, he voiced him again in a 1994 radio adaptation of the iconic graphic novel Batman: Knightfall.

His most famous roles came prior to Batman as he retired in 1999 after a reunion with Burton in 1999's Sleepy Hollow, but he did lend his voices to two more of Burton's productions (2005's Corpse Bride and 2010's Alice in Wonderland). He sadly passed away after a battle with cancer in 2011 at the age of 94.

Pat Hingle (1924 - 2009)

Like his Batman Returns peers, Pat Hingle had enjoyed a long and successful career long before he walked onto the Gotham City set. He was known for multiple roles, particularly his appearances in Clint Eastwood movies, but his role as Commissioner Gordon in Batman introduced him to a whole new audience.

Hingle was the only other actor to appear in the rest of the original quartet of Batman movies. After Returns, he reappeared in both Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. Like Gough, he too reprised the role once more in the OnStar commercials between 2000 and 2002.

He continued to act throughout the rest of his life, with one of his most significant projects coming in 2000's Shaft. He had a main role in ABC miniseries adaptation of The Shining in 1997, appeared in A Thousand Acres (and Batman and Robin) in that same year, and led direct-to-video film Road To Redemption in 2001.

He sadly passed away in 2009.

Michael Murphy, Batman Returns mayor
"The Trotsky" Portraits - 2009 Toronto International Film Festival / Matt Carr/GettyImages

Michael Murphy

Whether you have seen Batman Returns or not, chances are that you have crossed paths with one of Michael Murphy's many characters. The veteran actor has appeared in countless films and he has a knack for playing morally corrupt political figures, businessmen, or lawyers that make his character in the 1992 film not seem so bad. Honestly, the unnamed Mayor of Gotham City was a bit of a helpless man attempting to cling onto power when in way over his head. But that's not necessarily the case with some of his other characters.

Since then, he has appeared in an array of movies particularly in supporting roles or cameo appearances, including Private Parts, Magnolia, Childstar and White House Down. He also returned to the superhero genre in 2005's X-Men: The Last Stand, playing the odious Warren Worthington II, who tried to have his son (the Marvel Comics hero Archangel) take the mutant "cure".

He's less active these days, but you still might see him pop up as a congressman, judge, mayor, or president from time-to-time.

Andrew Bryniarski
Ashba Clothing Store Grand Opening In Las Vegas / Gabe Ginsberg/GettyImages

Andrew Bryniarski

There's an irony in the fact that Max Shreck's son was constantly protected by his father in potentially violent situations in Gotham City because he probably would have been able to defend himself alright. Chip was larger-than-life but the film constantly downplayed his size to make the apple of Max Shreck's eye appear vulnerable, but it was hard to believe given that actor and body builder Andrew Bryniarski brought him to life so well.

Chip was a memorable character nonetheless, but that was only the beginning of Bryniarski's acting career as he would go on to enjoy success in the 1990s and 2000s playing some iconic roles. The first of those was Zangief in 1994's Street Fighter. In 2003, he starred in the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as Leatherface himself in what is his most famous role to date. He then reprised it in 2006 sequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. Continuing his streak of playing famous characters, he portrayed Count Dracula in 2008 movie Bram Stroker's Dracula's Guest.

He hasn't acted much in the past decade, with his most recent work being a 2010 episode of Burn Notice and the 2015 horror movie Some Kind Of Hate.

Cristi Conaway, Marlien Rentmeester
FIGUE Lunch LA / Donato Sardella/GettyImages

Cristi Conaway

Cristi Conaway portrayed the Ice Princess in Batman Returns; the innocent local celebrity that was supposed to light the Christmas Tree in Gotham City who is eventually killed by The Penguin as part of an elaborate scheme to frame Batman. She was a recurring character throughout the movie, with her most memorable appearances being the infamous "cheese!" scene and her eventual fall off the building.

It was the biggest role for the young actress at the time and led to further opportunities, including a prominent role in 1993's Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman remake and a 1995 episode of Tales From The Crypt. Her most significant role came from television as she starred in the 1997 TV series Timecop, playing one of the lead roles as Officer Claire Hemmings. Unfortunately, it was cancelled after just nine episodes aired.

Conaway retired from acting in 2002 and has since become a fashion designer, making scarves, dresses, and sweaters.

Paul Reubens, Batman Returns cast
AOL Build Speaker Series - Paul Reubens, "Pee-wee's Big Holiday" / Mike Pont/GettyImages

Paul Reubens (1952 - 2023)

Paul Reubens was widely known for creating and playing the character of Pee-wee Herman. That was long before he appeared in Batman Returns, but he was quite the on-screen presence in his few moments of screentime as The Penguin's father. He had been offered to play the role by director Tim Burton, stepping in for original Penguin actor Burgess Meredith, who had to pull out of the role due to ill-health.

Reubens had a quieter '90s and 2000s, guesting on a number of TV shows, including five episodes of Murphy Brown, which earned him an Emmy Award nomination. However, he brought Pee-wee Herman back for a new stage show in 2010, which catapulted him back into the mainstream. A Netflix movie, Pee-wee's Big Holiday, was released in 2016.

He returned to the world of Batman in 2016 as well, once again playing The Penguin's father on Fox TV series Gotham, although this was a very different version of the character. He also lent his voice talents to fellow DC TV series DC's Legends of Tomorrow and appeared in shows such as What We Do In The Shadows and The Conners.

He sadly passed away in 2023 after a six-year battle with cancer.

Diane Salinger, Batman Returns
AFI Fest 2023: Guest Artistic Director Greta Gerwig Presents "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" / Jon Kopaloff/GettyImages

Diane Salinger

Another actor who had worked with Tim Burton on his directorial debut Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Diane Salinger was drafted in to play The Penguin's mother in Batman Returns. Though Mrs. Cobblepot didn't have an official name for the movie, Salinger's memorable performance - and the scene that she appeared in - has certainly lived on in the years since the film's release.

After her brief stint in Gotham City, Salinger led the 1992 comedy Unbecoming Age along with future Batman George Clooney before going to appear in a number of films in minor roles, such as The Scarlet Letter, Guy, and Ghost World. She was also a regular of the small screen, appearing in episodes of Murder, She Wrote, NYPD Blue, ER, Charmed, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. She also played the role of Lupaza in two different Star Trek shows, and had a regular role as the voice of Queen Bansheera on Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue.

Her most famous role came in 2003 when she portrayed Apollonia on HBO's beloved series Carnivàle, which ran for two seasons before its unjust cancellation in 2005. And in 2016, she reunited with Reubens on Pee-wee's Big Holiday.

Next. Every Batman movie ranked from worst to best. Every Batman movie ranked from worst to best. dark