title>Isador Friz Freleng
Isador "Friz" Freleng
|1905 - 1995|
In an illustrious career that has spanned 63 years, Friz Freleng was involved in nearly all aspects of animation. As a creator, director, and producer, he created or contributed to many of the most memorable and award-winning cartoons ever produced.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Freleng moved to Hollywood as Head Animator of Warner Bros.' "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies" cartoons. He animated the first Warner Bros. cartoon ever release, "Sinkin' In the Bathtub" (1930) and directed his first cartoon, "Bosko in Dutch" (1933).
Freleng remained at Warner Bros. for 33 years. During this time, he was a major developer of Warner Bros. characters, producing and directing over 300 cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and others. In addition he created Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam, and Sylvester. Clearly evident in all of Freleng's cartoons was a unique talent for synchronizing the visual gag and the accompanying background music. While at Warner Bros., Freleng was honored with Academy Awards for the four shorts: "Tweetie Pie" (1947), Speedy Gonzales" (1955), "Birds Anonymous" (1957) and "Knighty Knight Bugs" (1958); and he was nominated for seven others.
In 1963, Freleng teamed up with David Depatie to form DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, which produced shorts for Warner Bros. and became the leading independent production company in the areas of animated film production, television specials and commercials.
In 1980, Freleng became a Senior Executive Producer where he produced three feature- length films incorporating his "classic" animated shorts along with new animated sequences: "The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie" (1981), "Bugs Bunny's 1001 Rabbit Tale?' (1982), and "Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island" (1983).
Freleng was the recipient of many prestigious awards: in 1981, he was honored by both The American Film Institute and the British Film Institute, with major retrospectives of his work. Also that year, the Chicago International Film Festival presented him with their Hugo Award for his lifetime contribution to the animation/film industry. In 1982, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences paid tribute to him at a gala event that featured nine of his most famous cartoons. In 1985, the New York Museum of Modern Art honored Freleng as part of their Golden Anniversary Salute to Warner Bros. Animation. In August, 1992, Freleng was honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Friz continued to be a major contributor to the art of animation until his passing in May of 1995. Cities worldwide continue to honor Freleng with film festivals, museum exhibitions and retrospectives.
Pioneering animation director Isadore (Friz) Freleng died May 26, 1995. He was 89.
The creator of more than 300 cartoons featuring the beloved Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester and Tweety Bird and Yosemite Sam - whom he inspired - Freleng was considered a guiding light of Warner Bros. animation. He co-founded the Warner animation studio as its head animator in 1930, animated the first Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoon that same year, and worked on the famous Merrie Melodies series with fellow animators Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett and Tex Avery. Becoming an animation director in 1933, he went on to win five Academy Awards. His cartoons have aired on television continuously since the 1950s. But Freleng was a television creative force in his own right. His company, DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, which he ran with David H. DePatie from 1963 through 1982, produced television and theatrical shorts and commercials. He won three Emmy Awards, two for the Dr. Seuss programs Hallowe'en is Grinch Night and The Cat in the Hat, and one for directing the ABC After School Special My Mom's Having a Baby, which combined live action and animation.
Freleng also wrote, produced and directed a series of Pink Panther animated specials, based on the character he created. He served two terms as a Television Academy governor, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. -- Libby Slate