Hans Georg Conried, Jr. (April 15, 1917 – January 5, 1982), was an American comedian, character actor and voice actor best known for providing the voices of Captain Hook in Walt Disney's version of Peter Pan and Snidely Whiplash on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, for playing the title role in The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, and for his work as Uncle Tonoose on Danny Thomas's sitcom Make Room for Daddy. Known as a wit and raconteur, he regularly appeared on NBC's Tonight Show with Jack Paar from 1959 until 1962.
He was born on April 15, 1917 in Baltimore, Maryland, to Edith Beryl (Gildersleeve) and Hans Georg Conried, Sr. He was given the name Hans Georg Conried Jr. There is no truth to the story that his real name was Frank Foster. His Connecticut-born mother was a descendant of Pilgrims, and his father was a Jewish immigrant from Vienna, Austria. He was raised in Baltimore and in New York City. He studied acting at Columbia University and went on to play major classical roles onstage. Conried worked in radio before working in movies in 1939. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 1944, during World War II.
Radio career and other voice work
Conried appeared regularly on radio during the 1940s and 1950s. He was in the regular cast of Orson Welles's Ceiling Unlimited, for which he wrote the December 14, 1942, episode, "War Workers". On CBS's The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show he played a psychiatrist George regularly consulted for help in dealing with the dizzy Gracie. Conried's best single year was 1953, when he made his Broadway debut in Can-Can and was credited in six films (among them The Twonky and The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T). Other Broadway productions include 70, Girls, 70 and Irene. He can be clearly heard on the Original Cast Albums (and CDs) of Cole Porter's "Can-Can" and Kander & Ebb's "70, Girls, 70" where, among other songs, Conried performs a sensational fast-paced patter song called "The Caper." Conried's inimitable growl and impeccable diction were well suited to the roles he played, whether portraying the dim Professor Kropotkin in the radio show My Friend Irma or portraying comic villains and mock-sinister or cranky types, such as Captain Hook (and Mr. Darling) in Walt Disney's Peter Pan and The Grinch/Narrator from Dr. Seuss' Halloween is Grinch Night. According to the DVD commentary of Futurama, he was the inspiration for the voice created for that series' "Robot Devil". Conried was a cast member of other Dr. Seuss specials, and The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, voicing the character of Snidely Whiplash in the Dudley Do-Right shorts, and hosted Fractured Flickers, another creation of Jay Ward and Bill Scott, as well as Wally Walrus on The Woody Woodpecker Show, Uncle Waldo P. Wigglesworth on Hoppity Hooper, and Dr. Dred on Drak Pack. He was known as the Williams family patriarch, Uncle Tonoose, on the sitcom Make Room for Daddy, for thirteen years. He was a regular guest on Jack Paar's Tonight Show on NBC from 1959 to 1962. He also performed as the "slave in the mirror" character, hosting several memorable episodes of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.
Besides hosting Fractured Flickers, Conried was a regular panelist on CBS's pantomime program, Stump the Stars and a semi-regular guest on the Ernie Kovacs-hosted game show Take a Good Look. On ABC's The Donna Reed Show in the episode "It's the Principle of the Thing", Conried portrayed Mr. Popkin, a poor man who agrees to perform household chores for the Stone family so his young son, played by Robert L. Crawford, Jr., can get needed medical care from Dr. Alex Stone (Carl Betz). Guest appearances included I Love Lucy (as the English tutor Percy Livermore and used furniture merchant Dan Jenkins), Davy Crockett, The Californians, Meet McGraw, Hey, Jeannie!, The Ray Milland Show, The DuPont Show with June Allyson, The Real McCoys, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Mister Ed, The Islanders, Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare, Lost in Space, Daniel Boone, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Lucy Show, Gilligan's Island, The Monkees, Have Gun – Will Travel, Love, American Style, Kolchak, Alice, Laverne & Shirley, The Love Boat, Hogan's Heroes, Match Game, Maverick, What's It For, Fantasy Island, and Quark (as the voice of "The Source"). From 1956 until 1963, Conried made twenty-one guest appearances as Danny Thomas' Lebanese "Uncle Tonoose" in Make Room for Daddy on NBC and then CBS. In real life, Thomas was Lebanese and Conried was Austrian and Jewish. Conried was featured in the 1958 episode "What Makes Opera Grand?" on the anthology series Omnibus. The episode, an analysis by Leonard Bernstein showing the powerful effect of music in opera, featured Conried as Marcello in a spoken dramatization of Act III of Puccini's La Bohème. The program demonstrated the effect of the music in La Bohème by having actors speak portions of the libretto in English, followed by opera singers singing the same lines in the original Italian.
Conried was active until his sudden death from cardiovascular disease on January 5, 1982. He was married to Margaret Grant from January 29, 1942 until his death three weeks short of their 40th wedding anniversary. The couple had four children. His remains were donated to medical science.