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Friz Freleng

Friz Freleng

D.O.B.: August 21, 1906 (Kansas city, MO)

D.O.D.: May 26, 1995 (Los Angeles, CA)

Cause of Death:

Location: Hillside Memorial; Canaan Section E-249

Biographical Notes:

Animator. He worked for Warner Brothers Animation Department for thirty years. He won five academy awards for his animated work. His work includes 'The Pink Panther', 'Tweety Bird' and 'Yosemite Sam.'

One of the giants not just of Warner Brothers animation, but of animation in general. Friz Freleng had connections with the Warner Brothers studio for over 60 years, directing nearly 300 cartoons, four of which won Oscars, more than any other director from the studio. Even other giants of Warner Brothers animation -- perhaps most notably Chuck Jones, have acknowledged his influence and reputation.

Freleng would successfully battle the feckless Eddie Selzer (successor to Leon Schlesinger) to produce cartoons starring Tweety (originally created by Bob Clampett) the way Freleng wanted. As usual, the artist was right, and Tweetie Pie (Freleng, 1947) proved to be a big hit, winning Freleng his first Oscar (although as producer, Selzer accepted and kept the Oscar as his own). This would be the start of a long string of cartoons co-starring the cat Sylvester, and a series that would win another Oscar (for Birds Anonymous in 1957), as well as other nominations.

Freleng received story credit for the following cartoons which he actually directed:

  • From Hare to Heir (1960)

  • Lighter Than Hare (1960)

  • Rebel Without Claws (1961)

  • The Jet Cage (1962)

  • Devils Feud Cake (with Warren Foster, 1963)

The nickname “Friz” is said, by some accounts, to have derived from a fictional congressman “Frizby” used in a column of the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper.

In the years before nicknames were allowed in the credits of Warner Brothers cartoons, often one could detect the use of the word “Friz” in the background paintings in various Freleng cartoons. There is, for example, the billboard for “Hotel Friz” passed by the speeding cars at the start of Racketeer Rabbit (Freleng, 1946). Friz is one of the names carved on the door jamb Bugs is leaning against in Bugs Bunny Rides Again (Freleng, 1948), and on a soda can seen in I Taw a Putty Tat (Freleng, 1948). “Friz - Americas Favorite Gelatin Dessert” is seen on a crate in Putty Tat Twouble (Freleng, 1951), along with a portrait. Frizby is one of the dogs listed in Bosko’s Big Race (Harman/Ising, 1932).


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