Isadore "Friz" Freleng (August 21, 1906–May 26, 1995) was an American animator, best known for his work on the Pink Panther cartoons of the 1960s and 1970s. He worked with Hanna-Barbera on Pink Panther and Sons.
Isadore "Friz" Freleng was born on August 21, 1906, in Kansas City, Missouri. Since he had no formal training in drawing, his first job as an animator was with United Film Advancement Services in 1924, at the age of 17. His first credited work was for Walt Disney Studios, where he worked as an animator on the "Alice" series in 1927. Friz then did some animation for Robert Winkler Productions in 1928, starting with Fiery Fireman, and for Screen Gems (Port Whines) in 1929, but it was his work in Bosko the Talk-Ink Kid in 1929 under the direction of Hugh Harmon and Rudolf Ising when he first worked for Warner Bros., though known at that time as Leon Schlesinger Studios.
Under Leon Schlesinger's supervision in the budding animation department of Warner Bros., Freleng's career as an animator and director rocketed, producing some of the most beloved cartoons in America's golden age of animation.
Freleng worked as the head animator and often producer on the two main animation subdivisions established by Warner Bros., Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. He adopted the nickname "Friz" after Warner Bros. asked him to go by I. Freleng after World War II broke out, and he did not want to go simply by an initial. "Friz" was taken from another artist, named Frisby.
In the late 1950s, after Tex Avery and Bob Clampett had left Warner Bros., Freleng's career as a director soared. Though he was nominated throughout his career for numerous Academy Awards, it wasn't until 1947 that he eventually took the Oscar for Tweety Pie. Freleng then won Oscars for Speedy Gonzales in 1955, Birds Anonymous in 1957, Knighty Knight Bugs in 1958, and The Pink Phink in 1964.
In 1963, Freleng and David DePatie founded the DePatie-Freleng Studio, which specialized in short films and television commercials. It was here that Freleng enjoyed great success with his Pink Panther series of short cartoons.
Freleng also wrote scripts for several Looney Tunes feature films, as well as the book Animation: The Art of Friz Freleng in 1994.
- Friz Freleng at the Internet Movie Database