Today marks The Joker’s birthday and what better way to celebrate than to enumerate all the actors who had the unique opportunity to portray as the Clown Prince of Crime.
The following personalities are known to have portrayed The Joker as well as made an indelible mark of the character into various popular media.
The First TV Joker – Cesar Romero
Romero was chosen as the Joker in the TV adaptation of Batman in 1966. He brought in an “enormous energy to the role.” Seeing that the show was intended to be family friendly, his Joker was known more for his comedic antics than his violent crimes. The actor starred mostly as a Latin lover which is probably why he refused to have his moustache shaved. For that reason, the white makeup was merely smeared all over his facial hair.
The First Movie Joker – Jack Nicholson
In a time when movies based off comic books were not as popular as they are today, Nicholson successfully brought the Joker to life in his portrayal of the villain in Tim Burton’s “Batman.” As expected from a Burton film, the movie brought in darker characters which led Nicholson’s Joker being more psychotic and violent than that of Romero’s. His Joker was reminiscent of his role as Jack Torrance from the movie “The Shining” which cements his Joker role as a crazed criminal.
The Voice of Joker – Mark Hamill
Who would have thought that the heroic Luke Skywalker would make a great Joker? Hamill provided the voice (as well as the signature maniacal laugh) for the villainous clown In “Batman the Animated Series” TV adaptation. He was also responsible for the voice of this character in the other DC Animated Universe shows. Not only that, he also lend his voice for The Joker in the many Batman and DC video games. He will also voice The Joker in the animated film “Batman: The Killing Joke” slated to be released this 2017. This marks him having portrayed The Joker for 25 years.
The Most Celebrated Joker – Heath Ledger
Perhaps one of the most remembered villains (of all time) is Ledger’s Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.” During the editing of the film and while filming “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” the actor died after being intoxicated with prescription drugs. His performance as Batman’s arch nemesis earned him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as well as other numerous awards. It is said that Ledger improvised on some scenes like clapping slowly to congratulate Jim Gordon for being promoted as well as fidgeting the remote control before the hospital exploded. His Joker was calculative, manipulative and anarchic. The Joker is groomed as an “Agent of Chaos” in the movie and was always one step ahead of the Batman.
The Most Recent Joker – Jared Leto
Coming this August is “Suicide Squad” where most of Batman’s super villains are recruited to accomplish a secret military mission. With it is the promise of Leto’s portrayal of The Joker that we have yet to see (and very much excited to). Leto has been known to get into the character even outside film production by sending his co-cast some “interesting” gifts. Not only that, he also shared in an interview with ComingSoon that they will move in a new direction with regards to Joker’s characterization.
“We walked in a completely new direction. I think we knew that we had to do that. It was important to do that. When the Joker has been done and done so well, it gives you a bit of an indication of where you shouldn’t go. There’s a bit of a map there. That’s the good part about it.”
For you, who do you think is the best Joker?