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Hollywood History: Actors Who Have Played Batman

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Ben Affleck is just the latest movie star who will grace the screen as Batman in the 2015 sequel to Man of Steel. From the latest and greatest Batman, Christian Bale, to everyone's favorite ER doctor, George Clooney, some of the biggest names in Hollywood have fought crime in Gotham City wearing the mask of the bat. Here's a look back at who wore the cape and drove the Batmobile.

Lewis Wilson, Batman (1943)

Wilson was the first actor to play Batman as part of a 15-episode series, in which he was pitted against a Japanese spy called Dr. Daka during World War II. In Batman, Wilson had to stop Daka from taking over America.

Robert Lowery, Batman and Robin (1949)

In another series Batman and Robin, Lowery took over the reins from Wilson to face off against the Wizard, who had a device that could control cars. Lowery would go on to guest star in episodes of The Adventures of Superman, Perry Mason, and Circus Boy.

Adam West, Batman (1966-1968)

Before Kanye, Adam West dominated the headlines for his portrayal of Batman in the television series that ran from 1966 to 1968. The show used a lot more tongue-in-cheek comedy and was much lighter than the modern Batman films audiences have come to adore.

Michael Keaton, Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992)

Keaton, who has become a surprising cult favorite of Batman fans, donning the mask and cape twice, both for dark, gothic director Tim Burton in 1989's Batman opposite Jack Nicholson as the Joker and again in 1992 for Batman Returns with the sultry Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. Keaton dropped off a third installment when Burton called it quits.

Val Kilmer, Batman Forever (1995)

Kilmer faced off against two huge celebrity villains in Batman Forever. Tommy Lee Jones was cast as Two-Face and Jim Carrey became the Riddler. The movie was a commercial success -- Burton didn't direct it, and it was more family-friendly -- and introduced a new generation to a campy Batman, like West 20 years prior.

George Clooney, Batman & Robin (1997)

Affleck is the biggest name taking on the role of the caped crusader since Clooney in Batman & Robin. That version also starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman but was a critical failure, earned 11 Razzie Award nominations. Despite the rubbings, Clooney said, "Batman is still the biggest break I ever had and it completely changed my career, even if it was weak and I was weak in it."

Chrisitan Bale, Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

In 2005, Bale began his three-film run as Batman in Batman Begins. The follow up was The Dark Knight, arguably the best comic film of all time, receiving eight Oscar nominations and earning Heath Ledger the award for Best Supporting Actor as Joker. Bale finished his epic trilogy in 2012 with The Dark Knight Rises.

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