Stanley "Stan" Freberg was an American author, recording artist, voice actor, comedian, radio personality, puppeteer, and advertising creative director, whose career began in 1944.
His Disney roles included Lambert Lion in Lambert the Sheepish Lion, Mr. Busy the Beaver in Lady and the Tramp, the Egyptian God Ra in the Hercules: The Animated Series episode Hercules and the Romans, and the narrator for An All New Adventure of Disney's Sport Goofy, Down and Out with Donald Duck (for which he also served as a writer for the TV special), and The Wuzzles.
Freberg was born Stanley Friberg in Pasadena, California, the son of Evelyn Dorothy (née Conner), a housewife, and Victor Richard Friberg (later Freberg), a Baptist minister. Freberg was a Christian and of Swedish and Irish descent.
Freberg's work reflects both his gentle sensitivity (despite his liberal use of biting satire and parody) and his refusal to accept alcohol and tobacco manufacturers as sponsors—an impediment to his radio career when he took over for Jack Benny on CBS radio. As Freberg explained to Rusty Pipes:
|“||After I replaced Jack Benny in 1957, they were unable to sell me with spot announcements in the show. That would mean that every three minutes I'd have to drop a commercial in. So I said, "Forget it. I want to be sponsored by one person", like Benny was, by American Tobacco or State Farm Insurance, except that I wouldn't let them sell me to American Tobacco. I refused to let them sell me to any cigarette company.||”|
Stan Freberg's first wife, Donna, died in 2000. He fathered two children from that marriage, Donna Jean and Donavan. He married Betty Hunter in 2001, and she adopted the personal and family names Hunter Freberg.
Freberg was cast to sing the part of the Jabberwock in the song "Beware the Jabberwock" for Disney's Alice in Wonderland, with the Rhythmaires and Daws Butler. Written by Don Raye and Gene de Paul, the song was a musical rendering of the poem Jabberwocky from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. The song was not included in the final film, but a demo recording was included in the 2004 and 2010 DVD releases of the movie.
Freberg made his on-screen movie debut in the comedy Callaway Went Thataway (1951), a satirical spoof on the marketing of Western stars (apparently inspired by the TV success of Hopalong Cassidy). Freberg costarred with Mala Powers in Geraldine (1953) as sobbing singer Billy Weber, enabling him to reprise his satire on vocalist Johnnie Ray (see below). In 1963's mega-comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Freberg appeared in a non-speaking part as the Deputy Sheriff and also voiced as a dispatcher.
Contrary to popular belief George Lucas called upon Freberg, not Mel Blanc, to audition for the voice of the character C-3PO for the 1977 film, Star Wars. After he and many others auditioned for the part, Freberg suggested that Lucas would use mime actor Anthony Daniels' own voice.
In popular culture
- In 1961's The Parent Trap, the characters during the animated opening title sequence refer to each other as "John" and "Marsha," after Freberg's single "John and Marsha."