On this day in 1986, actor Paul Frees - best known to Disney fans as the Haunted Mansion's Ghost Host - passed away suddenly in Tiburon, California at age 66.
Solomon Hersh Frees was born in Chicago in 1920 and began acting in radio around 1942. His career was cut short when he was drafted into the second world war. Frees took part in D-Day but was wounded and returned to the U.S. After recuperating, he attended the Chouinard Art Institute - but due to his wife's ailing health, Frees dropped out and returned to work in radio. This led to work in movies and later TV where he was often called upon to correct the dialogue of other actors. An example of this was his work in Disney's The Ugly Dachshund in which Frees dubbed the entire role of Eddie (played by Dick Wessel - who had died of a sudden heart attack).
His most memorable Disney credits includes the voice of Professor Ludwig von Drake in eighteen episode of Disney's television anthology series. His theme park credits include the Haunted Mansion (as the Ghost Host), Pirates of the Caribbean, and Adventure Thru Innerspace.
Over his 40-year career Frees was involved in more than 250 films, cartoons, and TV appearances including a live-action role in Disney's 1959 The Shaggy Dog.
If you've ever watched any of the Rankin/Bass TV Christmas specials ... you've also surely heard the voice of Paul Frees!
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