William Conrad

William Conrad


9/27/1920, Louisville, Kentucky, USA



Birth Name

William Cann



Also Known As

Bill Conrad
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User Rating
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William Conrad was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He began his radio career on various California radio stations in the late 1930s. Conrad joined the service during World War II, serving as a fighter pilot. He returned to radio after the war and later took his talent to television…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • CBS asked producer Quinn Martin to create a series especially for William Conrad. Cannon was the result.

    • Conrad appeared as Frank Cannon, his character on Cannon, in two episodes of Barnaby Jones, including the pilot.

    • Conrad was a regular on a number of radio shows, including "Escape," "The Damon Runyon Theater," "The Lux Radio Theater," "Nightbeat," "Fibber McGee and Molly," and "Suspense."

    • Conrad was nominated for Emmys in 1973 and 1974 for his role in Cannon.

    • William was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in Cannon in 1972 and 1973.

    • Conrad's feature movies include "The Killers" (1946), "Body and Soul" (1947), "Sorry, Wrong Number" (1948), "Joan of Arc" (1948), and "The Naked Jungle" (1954).

    • For 15 years Conrad was under contract with Warner Brothers, as a producer-director. Many of his feature films of the era were westerns.

    • William Conrad lent his voice to many TV shows as narrator. These include: The Highwayman, Manimal, Trauma Center, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, The Rebels, Tales of the Unexpected, and the TV mini-series, How the West was Won. He also narrated The Fugitive and did voice-over work on many commercials during the 70's.

    • In a 1956 episode of the radio show, "Suspense," Conrad demonstrated his versatility by performing all the roles.

    • William was a fighter pilot during World War II.

    • In 1997 William Conrad was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. He estimated he appeared in over 7,500 roles on radio.

    • He was the original Matt Dillon on the radio version of Gunsmoke.

  • Quotes

    • William Conrad: (on guest starring on other TV shows, including Barnaby Jones, while starring in Cannon) The Cannon people would be happy if I didn't do anything else — they're worried I might collapse. I do all these things because I like to do them. It's relaxation for me, a kick in the butt.... Quinn Martin, who produces both shows, asked me if I would do Buddy's first program, and I said I'd be delighted. If I hadn't wanted to do it, I wouldn't have.

    • William Conrad: Nobody else seems to mind my size, so why should I? I heard that Weight Watchers had banned its members from watching the show, but it turned out to be a gag. The publicist for Weight Watchers did call and suggest that I have lunch with their president. I said sure — if I could pick the restaurant.

    • William Conrad: (on whether his size effects his work on Cannon) There's nothing wrong with the word 'fat,' If you're fat, you're fat. I'm as healthy as I can be; I haven't felt so good in 20 years. We had a stuntman do the long shots in the pilot film, but then I had to go in and do the same things in close-up. So I said to myself, if this show is going to run, I'll have to get into condition. I started going to a gym — and I despise working out — and even lost a little weight. Now I feel terrific.

    • William Conrad: (on being passed up for the role of Matt Dillon on TV's Gunsmoke) Radio was 'The Theater of the Mind.' When I was playing Gunsmoke, people thought I was a tall, handsome fellow. They would have been disappointed when they saw me on TV.

  • William Conrad's voice was known by a generation of chldren and their parents.

    William Conrad's incredibly eventful career took him from radio to directing movies to starring in his own television shows. As talented a voice actor as we may ever know, he made a name for himself in the radio industry at a time when the radio dramas, once the entertainment of the masses, was on its way out. He played Marshal Matt Dillon to perfection, as long as the public could use their imaginations to see him as the tall and dashing town sheriff. In reality he was balding and overweight, though he didn't let that stop him from starring as Cannon, a detective who was a ladies man. Throughout his career he would continue to be drawn back into using his wonderful voice, narrating series such as Rocky and Bullwinkle and The Fugitive. His voice was perfect for this work, being smooth and not so flashy as to draw attention.moreless