New Batman Adventures Actor Mel Winkler Dies at 78

Character actor Mel Winkler, known for voice acting in countless animated shows and video games, passed away today in Hollywood THR confirms. Winkler reportedly died peacefully in his sleep, he was 78. Though man video game and comic book fans may not know his name, they definitely know his voice having previously voiced the talking mask Aku Aku in some of the Crash Bandicoot video games and Batman's partner Lucius Fox on The New Batman Adventures. His career saw him go from the stage on Broadway to television shows like Star Trek: Voyager and feature films including Across 110th Street.

Winkler was called "a consummate professional [who was] always willing to share his knowledge and wisdom on any given subject," by spokeswoman for the family, Courtney Benson. "His infectious smile and love for family will forever be missed. He was a giant among many."

Winkler was born in St. Louis and made his television debut on the soap opera The Doctors in 1969, appearing in 68 episodes of the NBC series. From there he made the leap to the big screen, appearing in a part in the classic blaxploitation film Across 110th Street (famous for the song of the same name by Bobby Womack). He would go on to appear throughout television and film in the 1980s, 90s, and 2000s with appearances in the Tom Cruise film All the Right Moves, the Michael J. Fox vehicle Doc Hollywood, plus shows like Babylon 5, Touched by an Angel, The Cosby Show, E.R., NYPD Blue, and The Shield.

The actor also made a number of appearances in fan-favorite franchises, starring in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. Coincidentally Winkler played the same character from the pages of DC Comics in the pilot episode of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and in an episode of Superman: The Animated Series, taking on the part of police officer William Henderson in both. After this Winkler voiced Lucius Fox in four episodes of The New Batman Adventures and voicing Aku Aku in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex, Crash Bandicoot: Warped, Crash Team Racing, and Crash Nitro Kart.

Beyond his career on the screen, Winkler appeared on the stage as well acting in Broadway plays like a revival of Othello, Are You Now or Have You Ever Been, and The Great White Hope.

Winkler is survived by his two children Maury and Mark, and four granddaughters.

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May he rest in peace.

(Cover photo by Joe Scarnici/WireImage)