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Stan Freberg, pioneering satirist and adman, dies at 88

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Stan Freberg, a satirist known for his music parodies and work in advertising, has died of natural causes, his children confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 88.

Freberg started work as a voice actor soon after graduating high school, and went on to star in multiple live-action movies before making a name for himself on radio with musical satires including parodies of Ferlin Husky’s “A Dear John Letter” and Johnnie Ray’s “Cry.” He found commercial success with St. George and the Dragonet, a 1953 radio satire that hit No. 1 on Billboard’s record chart.

Freberg’s work was an inspiration to everyone from comedians to advertisers, but his influence is perhaps most apparent in “Weird Al” Yankovic’s song parodies. The performer first encountered Freberg’s work in middle school, and the two went on to star in the The Weird Al Show together in the late ’90s. “As long as I live,” Yankovic wrote in a 2014 essay for Variety, “I’ll never forget what an enormous thrill it was for me to wake up every morning knowing that I’d be working alongside my hero, the great Mr. Freberg.”