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R.I.P. Andrew Koenig, ‘Growing Pains’ Star and Onetime Joker

Popeater is reporting that Andrew Koenig, best known for playing Richard “Boner” Stabone on “Growing Pains,” was found dead in Vancouver at the age of 41. Koenig, the son of Walter Koenig (“Star Trek”‘s Chekov), reportedly suffered from depression and had been missing since Februrary 14th. While most remember Koenig from his ’80s sitcom days, comic book fans know him for his turn as Joker in the acclaimed fan film “Batman: Dead End.”

Premiering at the San Diego Comic Con in 2003, “Batman: Dead End” made fans go bonkers with its gritty take on the Dark Knight and his cackling nemesis. Released two years before “Batman Begins,” the idea of a dark and grim Caped Crusader and Joker was manna from heaven for those of us still reeling from the nipple-suits of “Batman & Robin.”

While the surprise Alien and Predator cameos at the end created buzz, Koenig turns out to be a pretty great Joker. His cackling, maniacal take on the Clown Prince of Crime was a nice happy medium between Mark Hamill’s “Batman: The Animated Series” prankster and Heath Ledger’s iconic psychopath. (The short’s popularity on the Web led to a brief grassroots campaign to get Koenig cast on the big screen.)

We’ll skip the theories on any sort of “Joker” curse (Hamill and Jack Nicholson were doing just fine last time we checked), and allow you to enjoy a little-seen highlight of the late actor’s career after the jump. While some will remember Koenig as Kirk Cameron’s pal, he’ll always be The Joker to us.

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