He was born in 1917 in Baltimore, Maryland, to Edith Beryl (Gildersleeve) and Hans Georg Conried, Sr. His birth certificate states he was born on April 14, 1917, but other sources claim he was born at 9:25 am on April 15. He was given the name Hans Georg Conried Jr. There is no truth to the oft-repeated story that his real name was Frank Foster. His Connecticut-born mother was a descendant ofPilgrims, 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 many major classical roles onstage. Conried worked in radio before breaking into movies in 1939, and was also a member of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre Company. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in September 1944 during World War II.
Radio career and other voice work
Conried appeared regularly on many radio shows during the 1940s and 1950s. He was a member of the regular cast of Orson Welles's Ceiling Unlimited, for which he also wrote the December 14, 1942, episode, "War Workers". On CBS's The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show he had the notable role of a psychiatrist whom George regularly consulted for help in dealing with the dizzy Gracie.
Conried's most important single year was 1953, in which he made his Broadway debut in Can-Can and received screen credit in six films (among them The Twonky and The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T). His other Broadway productions include 70, Girls, 70 and Irene.
Conried's inimitable growl and impeccable diction were perfectly suited to the roles he played, whether portraying the dim Professor Kropotkin in the radio show My Friend Irma or portraying comic villains and other mock-sinister or cranky types, such as Captain Hook (and Mr. Darling) in Walt Disney's Peter Panand The Grinch/Narrator from Dr. Seuss' Halloween is Grinch Night. According to the DVD commentary of Futurama, he was also the inspiration for the voice created for that series' "Robot Devil".
Conried also 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 also 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 well known as the Williams family patriarch, Uncle Tonoose, on the sitcom Make Room for Daddy, a role he played for thirteen years. He was also a regular performer on the Jack Paar's Tonight Show on NBC from 1959 to 1962. He also voiced the "slave in the mirror" character as the host of several memorable episodes of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.
Besides being the host of 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 that his young son, played by Robert L. Crawford, Jr., can have needed medical care from Dr. Alex Stone (Carl Betz).
His many 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 (as Wrongway Feldman), 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' eccentric Lebanese "Uncle Tonoose" in Make Room for Daddy on NBC and then CBS. In real life, Thomas was Lebanese but 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 exactly the same lines in the original Italian.
Conried was active up 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.