William Conrad's career has a dual legacy
: Do you know him best as the title detective in Cannon
... or as everybody's favorite pun
-happy narrator in The Bullwinkle Show
Born William Cann in 1920, in Louisville, Ky., Conrad actually got his start in radio -- which explains that sculpted, powerful baritone voice. His first movie roles started coming in 1946, but he would find high-profile voice-over work for decades to come.
Conrad had a long, successful career on camera, landing some plum TV assignments. Your age will dictate which role you remember him for: the original Marshall Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke (1955-1964), private eye William Cannon (1971-1976), or J.L. McCabe in Jake and the Fatman (1987-1991). He also had a one-season stint as Nero Wolfe, portraying the heavyset detective from Rex Stout's novels.
Conrad was portly by any standard, but despite his girth, he was something of a sex symbol. Most people were puzzled by this -- Conrad included -- but apparently he got quite a bit of fan mail from female admirers. Must have been Cannon's gruff authority.
Conrad's voice was on TV almost contantly until his death. He provided the opening narration to the wretched TV shows like Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Manimal, as well as voice work in TV movies such as The Highwayman. His most famous voice-over spot, with all respect to Bullwinkle, probably came as the narrator of The Fugitive .
Conrad's last role came in 1991
as the narrator in the Bruce Willis movie Hudson Hawk. He died of heart failure in 1994.
Most info from IMDb; some from personal memory.