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Man of a thousand voices dies

TIBURON, Calif. -- Paul Frees, the voice of Boris Badenov on the 'Bullwinkle' cartoon show and the mysterious off-screen bankroller of 'The Millionaire,' died Sunday at his home. He was 66.

Frees, who was found dead in bed, had a long history of heart problems, said his Hollywood agent Charles Stern.

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Although the face was unfamiliar, Frees' voice was well-known to millions of Americans who heard his hundreds of radio and television characters over the years, including Walt Disney's Ludwig von Drake, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Boris Badenov on 'The Bullwinkle Show' and the Pillsbury doughboy.

He may best be remembered as the voice in 'The Millionaire,' a TV character who made a habit of giving away a million dollars to individuals chosen seemingly at random. The character's face was never shown.

Frees was also the voice for the little people in the Jolly Green Giant commericals, and he was the cultured voice for Mobile Oil, Pillsbury and Foremost Dairies.

In addition to his work with cartoon characters and commericals, Frees recorded songs using the voices of such Hollywood actors as Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Ed Wynn and Boris Karloff.

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In 1970 he moved from Hollywood to Marin County, north of San Francisco, but continued to work through studios in both southern and northern California.

'He was a wonderful guy -- funny, loving,' said Bethanie Bloomfeld, office manager at Coast Recorders, where Frees did his work in San Francisco.

Frees began his career 54 years ago when he won $75 on a radio impersonation contest and was still working at the time of his death. Last week he made a commerical for Kellogg's Fruit Loops, a spokesman said.

Services were scheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Russell and Gooch mortuary in Mill Valley, Stern said. Friends were invited to donate to the Heart Association in lieu of flowers.

Frees' many jobs brought him an income of more than $1 million a year and he owned luxury apartments in Scottsdale, Ariz., a restaurant in Malibu, Calif., and his plush Tiberon home.

Survivors include his estranged wife, Beverly, now of Mesa, Ariz.; a son, Fred, and a daughter, Sabrina Frees Perrin of Riverside, Calif.

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