Here we’ll have a look to see just what actors have played Alfred, the loyal and faithful butler to Bruce Wayne. Maybe see what types of new gadgets Alfred may think up. Known in the comic books as Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth, loyal and faithful butler to Thomas and Martha Wayne. After their murder, he stayed on to help look after the young Wayne heir and in some versions actually becoming Bruce’s legal guardian. When Bruce Wayne became Comic Book Superhero, Batman, Alfred agreed to assist him. It eventually came out that it was Alfred who was the computer genius and it was Alfred who looked after the batmobile and took care of Batman’s costume and everything else in the batcave as well as in the main house.
William Austin b. June 12, 1884 – d. June 15, 1975
Played The First Butler In The Original Batman Series
Lewis Wilson was the first actor who played for Comic Book Superhero, Batman/Bruce Wayne, and Douglas Croft as the first actor of comic book sidekick Dick Grayson/Robin while William Austin was the first actor to play the comic book butler Alfred Pennyworth. Austin played in a number of films and movies prior to being Alfred but most were just small and/or uncredited parts. His main “claim to fame” is changing the appearance of the most famous butler to one of the most popular superheros. Prior to the 1943 Batman series with Austin, Alfred the butler was a round man who was clean shaven. After the series, DC Comics decided to change the appearance of Alfred to be tall and thin with a small moustache.
Eric Wilton b. November 6, 1882 – d. February 23, 1957
Batman’s Butler in the 1949 Batman Series
The second actor’s face for the comic book sidekick, Alfred Pennyworth in the 1949 serial with Robert Lowery and Johnny Duncan, was Eric Wilton. Altho he has done over 200 movies, the majority of them are uncredited to him. And there really isn’t much about him any where either. Wilton came from an era where their private lives were simply that, private.
Alan Napier b. January 7 1903 – d. August 8 1988
Played Alfred Pennyworth in the 1960′s Batman and Robin Series
Who knew that the cousin of Britian’s prime minister Neville Chamberlain would become the butler and confidante to the most popular Batman, or the great great grandson of Charles Dickens would be dusting the batcave. Alan Napier played the comic book sidekick, Alfred Pennyworth during the ’60′s to Adam West’s and Burt Ward’s, Batman and Robin. Napier played in over 100 movies and films before becoming Alfred including Julius Ceasar, My Fair Lady, Lassie Come Home and Alfred Hitchcock movies. After playing Alfred in Batman and Robin, Napier played in weekly series such as Ironside and Kojak. As a show of homage to Napier, in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) the Joker’s alter ego is named Jack Napier, as well as the series finale of Justice League (TV series) has Batman going undercover to investigate the true motives of the Thangarians, his disguise resembled that of Napier.
Alan’s grandson, Brian Foster, is also an actor, some may remember him in The Partridge Family as the second Christopher. And his great grandson is actor James Napier, better known for his roles on the television series’ The Tribe and Power Rangers, Dino Thunder.
Michael Gough b. November 23, 1916 – d. March 17, 2011
Alfred In 4 Batman Movies
Actor Michael Gough played Alfred Pennyworth for Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney. Altho better known as all efficient Alfred the butler, Gough also has a cult following from the many horror movies he’s played in such as Dracula (1958), Phantom of the Opera (1962), Horrors of the Black Museum (1959), Konga (1961), Black Zoo (1963), Dr Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), and Crucible of Horror (1970). Gough has played in over a hundred movies during his lifetime including QB VII with his good friend and former comic book butler Alan Napier.
Gough has been married 3 times with one son. First wife was actress Ann Leon, the second was actress Diana Graves, third was Anneke Wills who he has a son with, Simon Gough.
Michael Caine b. March 14, 1933
The Actor Who Played Alfred For The Dark Knight Series
Born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, he changed his name to Michael Scott when he decided to get into acting instead his manager said he had to change it since there was already an actor by that name. Standing in a phone booth, Cain looked around and saw the sign “The Cain Mutiny” and decided his name should be Michael Cain. What brought Cain to international attention was the 1964 epic retelling of a historic 19th-century battle in South Africa between British soldiers and Zulu warriors, aptly called Zulu. Although he did play in a number of tv episodes before this. But what brought him to the forefront of stardom was his role in The Ipcress File in 1965 and the lead role in Alfie in 1966. In 1971 Cain stared in the movie Get Carter and then in Sleuth in ’72 and then in 2000 there was a re-make of Get Carter which Michael Cain also played in and in 2007 Sleuth was re-made with Cain in as well. You can find out more about Batman’s latest Alfred Pennyworth here. In 2005 Cain became Alfred to Christian Bale’s young Batman and then again in 2008 in The Dark Knight.
Honorable Mention for the Actors Who Played the animated Alfred Pennyworth
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. b. November 30, 1918 - Efrem Zimbalist Jr is probably more popular for his role as Jim Dandy in the 1957 Maverick with James Garner or his lead role as Stuart Baileyin 77 Sunset Strip from 1958-1964 or as Inspector Lewis Erskine in The F.B.I. from 1965-1974. After playing in several tv series like Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Hardcastle and McCormick, Remington Steele (with his daughter Stephanie Zimbalist and Pierce Brosnan), Hotel, Zorro and Murder, She Wrote. Starting in 1993 and going to 2003, Zimbalist did the voice of Alfred in several of the animated versions of Batman such as Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Batman (1995), The Batman/Superman Movie (1998), The New Batman Adventures (1998), and then in 2003 and 2004 Batman, The Mystery of the Batwoman and Justice League. Efrem also got to show his funny side in movies like Airport ’75 with Leslie Nelson and Hotshots (1991) with Charlie Sheen.
Ian Abercrombie b. September 11, 1936 – d. January 26, 2012 - Before he did the voice of comic book sidekick, Alfred on the Birds of Prey (2002-2003), Ian Abercrombie also played on soap operas like Santa Barbara, Days of Our Lives and the hit night-time soap Dynasty. He also played Elaine’s boss Mr. Pitt in Seinfeld and a butler in Desperate Housewives. Check out his other movies here
Alastair Duncan Besides being the voice of Alfred in the 2004 animated version of Batman, Duncan did a number of other voice overs such as Bastion in X-Men Legends II. Check out Duncan’s other credits here