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William Conrad

William Conrad

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Jake And The Fatman: Season 1 - Volume 1... Actors: William Conrad, Joe Penny, Barbara Parkins Format: Box set, Color,... more info $36.98was $36.98 Buy Now

Jake And The Fatman: Season 1 - Volume 2... Actors: William Conrad, Jake Penny Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, Full... more info $36.98was $36.98 Buy Now

Cannon: Season 1 - Volume 1... Directors: Alf Kjellin, Michael O'Herlihy, John Badham, William Hale (II), E.... more info $36.98was $36.98 Buy Now

Cannon: Season 1 - Volume 2... Actors: William Conrad Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC... more info $36.98was $36.98 Buy Now

Cannon: Season 2, Volume 2... The weekly adventures of Frank Cannon, an overweight, balding ex-cop with a deep... more info $36.98was $36.98 Buy Now

Cannon: Season 2 DVD Cannon: Season Two, Vols. 1 & 2 DVD more info $79.99was $79.99 Buy Now

Also Known As: Died: February 11, 1994
Born: September 27, 1920 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Louisville, Kentucky Profession: actor, announcer, producer, director, radio announcer, trumpet player, radio writer, fighter pilot

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This commanding, heavy-set actor, producer and director of radio, film and TV since the 1940s may now be best known as TV's "Cannon" (CBS, 1971-1975), a hefty and quietly methodical detective--and an impressively smooth ladies man. To younger viewers, Conrad may always be the rough-edged, cantankerous, cigar-smoking district attorney (and, after retirement and a hiatus, an unshaven P.I. in Hawaii) on "Jake and the Fatman" (CBS, 1987-88; 1989-92). However there was a lot more to this big man's long showbiz career. With his deep rich speaking voice, Conrad was a highly accomplished and prolific radio performer. He served as the narrator and a frequent participant on the thrilling "Escape" series (beginning in 1947 on CBS Radio) and numerous other shows ("Jason and His Golden Fleece"; "Pete Kelly's Blues"), but his most impressive achievement was creating US Marshall Matt Dillon for the 11-year run of the celebrated Western series, "Gunsmoke" (CBS Radio, c. 1949-60). Conrad lobbied hard to snare the lead in the TV version but his balding pate, round and mustachioed face, and ample physique did not fit the TV producers' image of a Western hero. Nonetheless, to those who remember, his tough and...

This commanding, heavy-set actor, producer and director of radio, film and TV since the 1940s may now be best known as TV's "Cannon" (CBS, 1971-1975), a hefty and quietly methodical detective--and an impressively smooth ladies man. To younger viewers, Conrad may always be the rough-edged, cantankerous, cigar-smoking district attorney (and, after retirement and a hiatus, an unshaven P.I. in Hawaii) on "Jake and the Fatman" (CBS, 1987-88; 1989-92). However there was a lot more to this big man's long showbiz career. With his deep rich speaking voice, Conrad was a highly accomplished and prolific radio performer. He served as the narrator and a frequent participant on the thrilling "Escape" series (beginning in 1947 on CBS Radio) and numerous other shows ("Jason and His Golden Fleece"; "Pete Kelly's Blues"), but his most impressive achievement was creating US Marshall Matt Dillon for the 11-year run of the celebrated Western series, "Gunsmoke" (CBS Radio, c. 1949-60). Conrad lobbied hard to snare the lead in the TV version but his balding pate, round and mustachioed face, and ample physique did not fit the TV producers' image of a Western hero. Nonetheless, to those who remember, his tough and world-weary delivery will always represent the true voice of Marshall Dillon. Conrad's authoritative tones made him a valuable voice performer even in the TV age. Fans of the various incarnations of "Rocky and Bullwinkle" will long treasure his urgent narration of their witty cartoon adventures. He also introduced many of producer Quinn Martin's TV productions, most notably "The Fugitive" (CBS, 1963-67). Conrad announced for many series over the decades including "Wild Wild World of Animals", "Tales of the Unexpected" (which he also hosted), "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" and "Manimal". He also narrated features such as "The Battle of the Bulge" (1965) and the much-maligned Bruce Willis movie, "Hudson Hawk" (1991). As a producer-director under contract with Warner Bros. for 15 years, Conrad competently churned out a number of low to medium budget genre programmers. His feature directorial credits were mostly Westerns ("The Ride Back" 1957, "The Man From Galveston" 1964) and thrillers ("Brainstorm" 1965, "My Blood Runs Cold" 1965). Notably Conrad was the executive producer of "Countdown" (1968), a riveting drama about the space program that marked the studio-backed fiction feature debut of director Robert Altman. Before shifting to production, Conrad had made a name for himself as a Hollywood character man beginning with a memorable film debut as one of "The Killers" in Robert Siodmak's 1946 noir classic. His subsequent credits spanned various genres but he tended to gravitate toward shady character parts in film noir: "Body and Soul" (1947); "Sorry, Wrong Number" (1948); and "Cry Danger" (1951). Conrad was a far more frequent presence on TV, appearing in many guest shots, TV movies, pilots, and various series, generally crime dramas. He also helmed or oversaw numerous TV episodes in the late 50s and early 60s including, as a director, "Gunsmoke", "Naked City" and "Route 66".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Side Show (1981) Director
2.
  My Blood Runs Cold (1965) Director
3.
  Two on a Guillotine (1965) Director
4.
  Brainstorm (1965) Director
5.
  The Man From Galveston (1963) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Hudson Hawk (1991) Narrator
2.
 Killing Cars (1991) Mahoney
3.
4.
 In Like Flynn (1985) Sergeant Dominic
5.
 Side Show (1981) Voice Of Ring Announcer
6.
 Return of Frank Cannon, The (1980) Frank Cannon
7.
 Murder That Wouldn't Die, The (1980) William Battles
8.
 Turnover Smith (1980) Thaddeus Smith
9.
 Keefer (1978) Keefer
10.
 Night Cries (1978) Dr Whelan
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Worked as a writer-announcer-director at L.A. radio station KMPC
:
Served in WWII with the US Air Force as a fighter pilot; eventually attained the rank of captain
:
Served as a producer-director for the Armed Forces Radio Service
:
Returned to radio and became a mainstay of network radio drama
1946:
Feature acting debut, "The Killers"
:
Starred as Marshall Matt Dillon for the 11-year run of the CBS radio series, "Gunsmoke" (dates approximate)
1950:
TV debut, narrated the CBS-TV version of the anthology radio series, "Escape"
:
Spent 15 years under contract as a producer-director for Warner Bros.
1957:
Feature producing debut, "The Ride Back", a Western
:
TV producing and directing debut, "Klondike", a period adventure series set in Alaska
:
Produced some seasons of "77 Sunset Strip", a popular detective series on ABC from the late 50s through the mid-60s
:
Directed 35 episodes of "General Electric True Theater/General Electric True/True", a dramatic anthology series that emphasized true suspense stories
:
Narrated the "Rocky and Bullwinkle" segments of ABC's cartoon classic, "Rocky and His Friends"
:
Narrated the hugely successful drama series, "The Fugitive"; first work in a Quinn Martin (QM) Production
:
Narrated the "Dudley Do-Right" segments of "The Bullwinkle Show"
1964:
Feature directing debut, "The Man From Galveston", a Western
1965:
Final directing credit, "Two on a Guillotine", a Gothic melodrama (also produced)
1966:
Feature executive producing debut, "An American Dream", based on a Norman Mailer novel
:
Narrated "The Invaders", a QM-produced sci-fi series
1968:
Final producing credit, executive produced "Countdown", the first studio-backed fiction film directed by Robert Altman
:
TV series debut as a star, "Cannon", a QM production about a suave private investigator
1977:
Hosted and narrated "Tales of the Unexpected", a QM-produced suspense anthology
:
Introduced the sci-fi series "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century"
1980:
Recreated his most celebrated role for "The Return of Frank Cannon", a CBS TV-movie
1981:
Starred as Rex Stout's literary detective "Nero Wolfe" on an NBC detective series
:
Provided the voice of the Lone Ranger on "The Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour", an action-packed Saturday morning cartoon
1986:
Played the recurring role of Art Patterson on "Hotel"
1986:
Played the recurring role of District Attorney Brackett on "Matlock"
:
Starred as J L 'Fatman' McCabe, a tough district attorney who teamed with a smooth private investigator on the CBS series "Jake and the Fatman"
:
Reprised TV role on "Jake and the Fatman"
1991:
Final TV voice credit, provided the narration for "Of Moose and Men: The Rocky and Bullwinkle Story", a PBS special
1991:
Final feature credit, narrator of "Hudson Hawk"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Excelsior High School: Bellflower , California -
Fullerton College: Fullerton , California -
Fullerton College: Fullerton , California -

Notes

We have found three different starting dates for the CBS Radio "Gunsmoke" series: 1954 (from "Radio's Golden Years" by Vincent Terrace); 1952 (from "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows" by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh); and 1949 (from Marquis' "Who's Who in Entertainment"). We have chosen the latter as it seems to jibe best with his other credits.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Tippy Conrad.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Christopher Conrad.

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