Born in 1905 in Kansas City, Missouri, Friz Freleng graduated high school with a talent for illustration. After some travails at Walt Disney's animation studio, he joined Warner Brothers and worked on "Sinkin' in the Bathtub" (1929), the first Looney Tune. Through the 1930s, he ascended to the role of animation supervisor on many black-and-white and early color cartoons, but it was not until he returned to Warner Brothers from an abortive move to MGM that he started directing truly idiosyncratic and wonderful animation. Freleng had affection for music and timed his cartoon action to music score sheets, and it follows that his publically best-loved work involves strenuous labors performed to the flow of classical music. Franz Liszt was evidently a Freleng fancy, in that Liszt's Second Hungarian Rhapsody was the tune to which men fallibly construct a skyscraper in "Rhapsody in Rivets" (1941). His "Rhapsody Rabbit" (1946) repeated the use of Liszt but on a stage with a piano, as Bugs and a mouse vie to impress a theatre audience with their energetic "pounding of ivories". "Holiday For Shoestrings" (1946) is the toil of elves in a shoe repair shop in synchronization with the mirthful merriment of overtures and waltzes, and for "Pigs in a Polka" (1943), the Big Bad Wolf pesters the Three Little Pigs in character movement according with Johannes Brahms' Hungarian Rhapsody.
Freleng is credited for creating Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam, Sylvester, gangsters Rocky and Mugsy, two Mexicali crows, and cat-chasing canines Spike and Chester, significantly fostering the development of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, refining Tweety from Robert Clampett's riotous and shameless cat-heckler to an innocent-looking but worldly foil for Sylvester, establishing Speedy Gonzales in his ultimate, dapper form, directing the cartoons in which the Goofy Gophers grapple with human industry, and "be-bop"-jazzing a famous fairy tale with "The Three Little Bops" (1957).
After directing approximately 266 Warner Brothers cartoons and surpassing all other animation directors at Warner Brothers in this regard, Freleng joined David H. DePatie in the formation of DePatie-Freleng Enterprises to continue the output of quality, mass-entertaining animation after the closure of Warner Brothers' cartoon studio in 1964. The Pink Panther has been Freleng's principal player for the many decades of DePatie-Freleng's tenure, its signature character- and was selected by Freleng in a 1989 interview as his all-time favorite cartoon personality.
He also delighted in anthropomorphizing the insect world, with mosquitoes and ants becoming tactical combatants against a hapless human in "Of Thee I Sting" (1946) and "Ant Pasted" (1953) respectively, and "The Fighting 69 1/2th" (1941) and "The Gay Anties" (1947) depict ants as self-aware, determined raiders of a picnic. One of the principal characters of Depatie-Freleng's Ant and Aardvark series of cartoons was an extension of this idea.