Full Name at Birth
Solomon Hersh Frees
Profile Bio Text
He was born Solomon Hersh Frees in Chicago. Frees had an unusually wide four-octave voice range that would enable him to voice everything from the thundering basso profundo of the unseen "Ghost Host" in the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland in California and at Disneyworld in Florida to the squeaky voice of the Little Green Sprout in the Green Giant vegetable commercials. He began his acting career in 1942 and remained active for over 40 years. During that time, he was involved in more than 250 films, cartoons and TV appearances; like many voice actors, his appearances were often uncredited.
Frees' early radio career was cut short when he was drafted into World War II where he fought at Normandy, France on D-Day. He was wounded in action and was returned to the United States for a year of recuperation. He attended the Chouinard Art Institute under the G.I. Bill. When his first wife's health failed, he decided to drop out and return to radio work. He appeared frequently on Hollywood radio series, including Escape, playing lead roles and alternating with William Conrad as the opening announcer of Suspense in the late 1940s, and parts on Gunsmoke, (doing a passable impersonation of Howard McNear as Doc Adams for at least one episode, "The Cast"), and Crime Classics. One of his few starring roles in this medium was as Jethro Dumont in the 1949 series The Green Lama, as well as a syndicated anthology series The Player, in which Frees narrated and played all of the parts.
Frees was often called upon in the 1950s and 1960s to "re-loop" the dialogue of other actors, often to correct for foreign accents, lack of English proficiency, or poor line readings by non-professionals. These dubs extended from a few lines to entire roles. This can be noticed rather clearly in the film Midway where Frees reads for Toshirô Mifune's performance as Admiral Yamamoto; or in the film Some Like It Hot, in which Frees provides the voice of funeral director Mozzarella. Frees also dubbed the entire role of Eddie in the Disney film The Ugly Dachshund, replacing actor Dick Wessel, who had died of a sudden heart attack after completion of principal photography. Frees also reportedly dubbed for Humphrey Bogart in his final film The Harder They Fall. Bogart was suffering at the time from what would be diagnosed as esphageal cancer and thus could barely be heard in some takes, hence the need for Frees to dub in his voice.
Unlike many voice actors who did most of their work for one studio, Frees worked extensively with at least nine of the major animation production companies of the 20th century: Walt Disney Studios, Walter Lantz Studios, UPA, Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, Jay Ward Productions and Rankin/Bass.
Frees was active until his sudden death at the age of 66 from heart failure on November 2, 1986. He was living in Tiburon, California at the time. Frees was cremated and his ashes were scattered upon the Pacific Ocean.
There have been homages to Frees by fellow voice actor Corey Burton, who happens to have matched the voices Frees used for some of his characters. Burton has re-recorded introductions for some Disneyland attractions that were originally recorded by Frees. In some cases, the original Frees introductions were simply worn out due to overuse. In other cases, the introductions were changed slightly to reflect updated safety standards and thus necessitated a re-recording.
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Actor, Singer, Voice Artist, Screenwriter, Narrator
Claim to Fame
Rankin Bass and Disney
Deep, grave voice
Brown - Dark
Brown - Dark
Place of Death
Tiburon, CA, USA
Cause of Death
Suicide (Overdose of Pain Medication)
Solomon Hersh Frees (June 22, 1920 – November 2, 1986), better known as Paul Frees, was an American actor, voice actor, impressionist, comedian and screenwriter known for his work on MGM, Walter Lantz, and Walt Disney theatrical cartoons during the Golden Age of Animation and for providing the voice of Boris Badenov in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Along with his contemporary Mel Blanc, he became known as "The Man of a Thousand Voices."
Actor/Actress, Soundtrack, Other Crew
Has Detailed Data (New)
Couple Profile Source
(1960s) TV commercial (narrator): Franco-American Spaghetti's canned spaghetti, (1950s-80s) TV commercials: voice of the "Pillsbury Dough-Boy, (1960s-80s) TV commercials: Voice of "Toucan Sam" for Fruit Loops cereal, TV commercials: Mr. Goodwrench auto repair shops, (1960s) TV commercials: Jolly Green Giant frozen foods (voice of the Elf), (1977) TV commercial (PSA): Ad Council for U.S. Savings Bonds (voiceover)
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