August 7, 1926 – April 7, 2015
Composer, singer, actor, author, comedian and advertising executive Stan Freberg died today at age 88 from pneumonia. Freberg worked as a voice actor in cartoons and early children’s television programs, popular recording artist of song parodies and political satire, memorably creative writer of humorous commercial product advertising and more. Freberg was born Stanley Friberg in Pasadena, California, the son of Victor Richard Friberg (later Freberg), a Baptist minister. Freberg was a Christian and of Swedish and Irish descent.
Freberg joined the Special Services during World War II, and was attached to the Medical Corps. He began at Warner Brothers in 1944 by getting on a bus and asking the driver to let him off "in Hollywood". As he describes in his autobiography, It Only Hurts When I Laugh, he got off the bus and found a sign that said "talent agency". He walked in, and the agents there arranged for him to audition for Warner Brothers cartoons where he was promptly hired. In 1949 he developed the "Time for Beany" puppet series for KTLA in Los Angeles, California, and did voices for UPA cartoon characters and Walt Disney films. In the waning days of network radio, he produced "The Stan Freberg Show", and also wrote radio and television commercials, including one for Butternut Coffee (in 1959) that was performed by the Omaha Symphony Orchestra.
Freberg remained an active force in radio and satire in his later years, and as a living inspiration to many modern comics. Weird Al Yankovic credits Freberg as the main reason he got into comedy. Freberg was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6145 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, and was inducted into theNational Radio Hall of Fame in 1995. Stan Freberg's first wife, Donna, died in 2000 and he had two children from that marriage, Donna Jean and Donavan. He is also survived by his wife Betty Hunter who he married in 2001.