He studied voice at the Vienna Music Academy and made his debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1947. He became a regular member of the company in 1950 and remained with that ensemble for his entire career, with regular guest appearances elsewhere in Europe.
His signature roles were Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Figaro, and Bluebeard. He was also a noted interpreter of Lied and choral works and enjoyed performing in operettas, particularly Die Fledermaus.
He married Christa Ludwig in 1956, but they were divorced in 1971.