DFE was founded just after the closure of Warner Bros.' famed Termite Terrace animation department, by animation veteran Friz Freleng and partner David H. DePatie . Many of the animators who had worked at Warners in the 1950s and 1960s went with them, as well. Their first major production was the Pink Panther series of cartoons, inspired by the concurrently-running movie series; they won their first Oscar for The Pink Phink in 1965.
DePatie-Freleng created more character to be released for theaters. They include The Inspector, Roland and Rattfink, The Ant and the Aardvark, Tijuana Toads, The Blue Racer, Hoot Kloot, and The Dogfather.
DFE was one of the subcontractors for the 1960s Warner Bros. cartoons, along with Format Films . They also produced TV specials (notably a line of Dr. Seuss adaptations made for CBS), and together with Hanna-Barbera Productions and Filmation were responsible for most of the cartoons shown on Saturday morning in the US in the 1970s.
In 1981, Freleng retired. DePatie sold the company to Marvel Comics, and it continued under his lead as Marvel Productions Limited. Marvel sold their back catalog to Saban Entertainment in the late 1990s.