When you think of Batman movies, there are no doubt some characters, items, and locations that you’d expect to see. I mean, what is a Batman film without the presence of Bruce Wayne? Alfred is a must, too, along with Jim Gordon and some sort of GCPD presence.
Then there are Batarangs, the Batmobile, the Batsignal, and… Senator Patrick Leahy?
Yes, dear reader, you read that right: the Senator from Vermont has had ties to most Batman film projects over the last three decades. A massive fan of the Dark Knight himself, Leahy has had cameo appearances in multiple films, as well as flexing his talents as a voice actor. Factor in the fact that he’s now third in line for the Presidency after the Vice-President and Speaker of the House, and he has a pretty cushy resume.
Just for fun, we thought we’d give a brief overview of Leahy’s cameos over the years, to better celebrate the unlikely common thread that the Caped Crusader’s films share.
Leahy’s first cameo came about in Batman Forever, a film which holds a special place in my heart. It’s a “blink and you’ll miss it” appearance, so much so that nobody seems to have any good screengrabs anywhere. Even after watching the Box Gala scene that I’m pretty sure he’s in, I’m only about 87% positive that it’s actually him behind Jim Carrey up there.
Still, he’s in the movie for sure, and that’s as good a guess as any, so thankfully his other appearances are much easier to identify.
Batman: The Animated Series, “Showdown”
Also known as “the one with Jonah Hex,” which is one of my personal favorite episodes of the entire series. Leahy gets some lines here, as he’s credited as “Territorial Governor” in the lengthy flashback that makes up the bulk of the story. There isn’t much more to note, besides it being a really good episode and that is a mighty fine top hat.
Batman & Robin
Leahy’s second on-screen cameo came in Batman & Robin, during one of the film’s most ridiculously over-the-top scenes.
Which is saying a lot.
During the charity auction scene, Leahy can be seen a few times in the crowd, as some of the other participants bid on Poison Ivy. He first appears just before the infamous “Bat-credit card” pops up, and is seen a few times after the fact. Not much more to say, other than this is one of the Batman ‘66iest scenes of this movie, and viewed through that lens it’s hilarious.
Technically, Leahy doesn’t have a credited cameo in Batman Begins, which is a shame. Still, who’s to say he didn’t play one of the masked members of the League of Shadows? You can’t really prove it otherwise, so it’s nice to imagine he’s there, somewhere.
The Dark Knight
This is probably Leahy’s most well-known and prominent cameo, and with good reason. He gets to perform alongside and stand up to Heath Ledger’s Joker, which was no doubt a highlight in his career.
You know the scene: Bruce Wayne is holding a fundraiser for Harvey Dent, when the Joker and his merry band of miscreants show up to terrorize the partygoers as they search for Harvey themselves. Leahy gets in a memorable line (“we’re not intimidated by thugs”) before the Joker tells him he reminds him of his father and… you know the rest.
Thankfully, it appears that his character survives, as he pops up again in…
The Dark Knight Rises
Is he playing the same character as in The Dark Knight? Possibly, as he makes an appearance in the Wayne Enterprises board room, and it’s not exactly a stretch to imagine that a member of the board would appear at a Wayne-sponsored fundraiser. The same scene also sees Christopher and Jonathan Nolan’s uncle John Nolan reprise his role of Fredericks from Batman Begins, where he delivered the hilariously passive-aggressive “the apple has fallen very far from the tree, Mr. Wayne” line at Bruce’s birthday “celebration.”
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
The final cameo Leahy has made to date was in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where he played Senator Purrington at Superman’s hearing. His role is tragically cut short, though, when a bomb goes off on the senate floor. Save for Superman, everyone in attendance is killed, leaving the Man of Steel emotionally vulnerable.
That does it for his on-screen appearances, so far at least. No word on whether or not Leahy will make an appearance in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, but we’ll find out in 2022 when it finally comes out.
In addition to his cameos on film, Leahy also contributed a foreword to the Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman collection. What’s more, per Wikipedia, he donates his royalties and earnings made from his appearances to charities, particularly the library he read comic books in as a child.
So sound off, readers. Which of Leahy’s appearances is your favorite?