Hunter Freberg ’67 has loved her husband since she was 4 years old. But back then, she only knew Stan Freberg as the voice of her favorite television show puppet: Cecil, the seasick sea serpent on the popular children’s series Time for Beany (1949-54).
A fortuitous meeting in 2000 brought her face to face with the legendary entertainer, satirist and iconic ad man, and it didn’t take long before they were chatting like old friends and finishing each other’s sentences.
After 10 years together, they still do. It’s a connection that not only fuels their marriage, but makes for one dynamic comedy duo.
Billed as Two Funny Frebergs, Hunter and Stan entertain throughout the world and have launched a new CD, Songs in the Key of Freberg: Songs About Life, sharing their hilarious bon mots on life’s daily frustrations, be they the pains of gridlock and home remodeling or the annoyances of other people’s public cell-phone conversations and the silliness of pharmaceutical commercials that gleefully gloss over serious side effects.
Hunter writes half of the lyrics while Stan, a founding member of the board of governors for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences who coined the word Grammy, writes the music.
A native Angeleno, Hunter studied at the USC Thornton School of Music while majoring in psychology and education, and she later became a teacher in Bel Air. Although she credits a USC-sponsored conference for sparking her interest in her second career turn as an executive headhunter, marketing and keynote speaker, it’s Stan who helped her hone her third act in comedy.
“I never particularly thought of myself as funny,” Hunter said. “I mean, I always had a great sense of humor, but I never realized that the two of us together could set each other off.”
Stan added: “She’s definitely funnier than me.” That may be, but Stan has been making people laugh for decades. Raised in Pasadena, he jumped into show business at age 18 and has voiced more than 400 cartoon characters for Warner Bros. and Disney, recording countless Capitol albums that have sold millions.
In 1957, he took over for Jack Benny on CBS radio and, as an advertising director, was dubbed “The Father of the Funny Commercial” by Advertising Age. Mad Men creator Matt Weiner paid homage to Stan in an episode of the series.
Stan is a radio and animation hall of famer who received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 – the same day as Marilyn Monroe. “But we had different talents,” he said.
Of his titles, and there are many, he most loved being “Professor Freberg.” While he taught communications at USC in the late 1960s, budding filmmaker George Lucas was among his students, and sought Freberg’s advice for a “little sci-fi movie” called Star Wars.
Speaking of movies, the Frebergs now are working on an animated film based on Stan’s popular 1959 single, “Green Chri$tma$,” which takes aim at the over-commercialization of the Yuletide season.
Stan always told Hunter that she would make a great ambassador and recently, the legendary international jewelry firm Harry Winston named her to that position for the company. “Ambassador Hunter Freberg – it has a nice ring to it,” she said.
They’re also writing their memoirs – together. “It is a culmination of our whole lives separately and now together – personally and professionally,” Hunter said. “We feel so lucky to be able to be at a point like this. But it’s taken a lifetime for both of us to complete it, more or less.”
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