The legendary 1989 classic Batman turns 27 this week. On June 23rd, 1989, Batman opened in theaters and created a legacy that few could have predicted. . The film was a global box office success and has left behind an unprecedented legacy.
First off, allow me to take a moment to spare a thought for the cast members who are no longer with us. Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, and Jack Palance were film icons and their contributions to the world will never be forgotten. RIP.
Now that the film is officially 27 years old, let’s take a look to see what the surviving cast of Batman are up to now.
Michael Keaton (Bruce Wayne/Batman)
Famed for his prior comedic performances, including Night Shift, Mr. Mom, Johnny Dangerous and his legendary performance as the titular character in Beetlejuice, there was initial outcry when Michael Keaton was cast in Batman. Many feared that he would make the franchise comedic, much like the 1966 TV series. Man, how wrong they were. Keaton not only delivered, he reinvigorated the character and by many fans and critics to this day.
After the resounding success, Keaton would return to the role in Batman Returns in 1992 as well as starring in Pacific Heights and Much Ado About Nothing. After turning down the chance to return for 1995’s Batman Forever because of Tim Burton’s departure and his disapproval of the light-hearted script, he went on to star in Multiplicity, Jackie Brown, Jack Frost, White Noise and Herbie: Fully Loaded, as well as providing voicework for mega-smash hits Cars and Toy Story 3.
Keaton’s already incredibly successful career has seen a massive resurgence since 2014. In that year he starred in Need For Speed, Robocop and the Oscar-winning Birdman. His performance in Birdman earned him universal acclaim and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture. He was also nominated for an Oscar, a BAFTA and SAG Award. Since then, he has starred in 2015’s Spotlight and will next be seen in the upcoming McDonald’s biopic The Founder as well as .
Michael Keaton is nothing short of Hollywood royalty. An icon who is truly one of the all-time greats.
Jack Nicholson (The Joker)
Jack Nicholson’s film career spans the better part of six decades. He has carved out one of the greatest careers in Hollywood history and starred in countless films. He is one of the only two actors to be nominated for an Oscar in every decade between 1960 and 2000 (the other being fellow Batman alumni Michael Caine). Those numbers say it all. Jack Nicholson has accomplished all there is to accomplish in cinema.
Nicholson already had a legendary career well before 1989, starting in the likes of Roger Corman’s The Raven and The Terror and eventually headlining critically acclaimed films like Chinatown, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Shining, The Postman Always Rings Twice, and The Witches of Eastwick. As the Joker in Batman, Nicholson delivered an enigmatic and unforgettable performance as the Joker that helped set the standard for comic book villains on screen.
Since then, Nicholson starred in the Chinatown sequel The Two Jakes as well as headlining A Few Good Men, Mars Attacks!, As Good As It Gets, About Schmidt, Anger Management, and Something’s Gotta Give. His most recent major role was in 2006’s The Departed which received universal acclaim. His last major film appearances so far were in The Bucket List alongside Morgan Freeman and in 2010’s How Do You Know. Despite being , Nicholson commented that he doesn’t consider himself as such and is just being much more selective about film roles.
It may have been six years, but whenever Jack Nicholson returns to film, we will rejoice. The three time Oscar winner most certainly has had an incredible career and another film would be the icing on an already delicious cake.
Kim Basinger (Vicki Vale)
Kim Basinger started her career as a model. However, after taking acting classes, she quit modeling and moved to LA. It wasn’t long before she ended up in starring roles on both film and TV, including the short-lived Dog and Cat, Hard Country, Mother Love, Never Say Never Again, and My Stepmother Is An Alien.
It was her performance as Vicki Vale in 1989’s Batman that led to her mainstream success. Over the following years, she starred in Final Analysis, The Real McCoy, Wayne’s World 2 and The Getaway. Her next major project would be 1997’s L.A. Confidential which received critical acclaim and earned Basinger an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She would then go on to star in I Dreamed of Africa, 8 Mile, The Door In The Floor, Cellular, While She Was Out, Charlie St. Cloud, 4 Minute Mile and The Nice Guys. She will next appear in this year’s Nocturnal Animals and 2017’s sequel Fifty Shades Darker.
Another icon of cinema history, Batman was indeed blessed with a triumphant trio headlining it.
Robert Wuhl (Alexander Knox)
Known for his comedic performance as Alexander Knox in Batman, you may also recognize Robert Wuhl as the “Pitch Man” at the beginning of Madonna’s “Material Girl” music video.
Wuhl isn’t just an actor; he’s a comedian and writer, perhaps also best known for creating and starring in the HBO TV Series Arliss, which ran for a successful seven seasons and 80 episodes from 1996-2002. Outside of Arliss, Wuhl also starred in Blaze, Missing Pieces, Mistress, Blue Chips and Cobb. He also appeared in The Bodyguard as the host of the Oscars.
Like I said, he’s also a writer and actually won two Emmy Awards for writing the Academy Awards. He hasn’t made many appearances on film or TV lately, but having amassed the resume he has over the years, he’s earned a rest. But keep an eye out, I wouldn’t be surprised if Wuhl — like his Batman character — popped up out of the blue on our TV screens again soon.
Billy Dee Williams (Harvey Dent)
Yet another Hollywood legend, Billy Dee Williams has been appearing in film and TV since 1959. Perhaps best known for , the screen icon has amassed decades worth of roles and thoroughly deserves to be considered one of the all-time greats.
Playing Harvey Dent in Batman, Williams portrayed the role with the class and determination expected of the Gotham City DA. In fact, he was supposed to return for a sequel when the character would become Two-Face, but Joel Schumacher’s light-hearted Batman Forever completely changed the game and replaced Williams with Tommy Lee Jones.
Since Batman, he has appeared in Dangerous Passion, Trabbi Goes to Hollywood, Giant Steps, Alien Intruder, Steel Sharks, The Visit, The Ladies Man and provided voicework for The Lego Movie. He has since moved into television, with roles and appearances on NCIS, Private Practice and Glee.
Jerry Hall (Alicia Hunt)
Jerry Hall made a name for herself as a model long before her days as an actress. In fact, she once shared an apartment with Grace Jones and the legendary Jessica Lange as they also pursued careers as models. In 1989, she appeared in Batman as Alicia Hunt, Carl Grissom’s girlfriend who was in love with Jack Napier. When Jack became the Joker, Alicia became his art project.
Outside of her career as a model, Hall had minor roles in Freejack, RPM, and Vampire in Brooklyn. She also appeared in Bejeweled, Savage Hearts, Princess Caraboo and six episodes of TV’s Cluedo. She can be seen next in the upcoming Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.
So there you have it, the cast of Batman is indeed quite the star-studded lineup. They have gone on to have remarkably successful careers since 1989, just as the movie’s legacy has lived on. Batman was indeed a revolutionary film and 27 years on, it still holds up incredibly well. In fact, that followed. The film is nothing short of a masterpiece.