Friese started at C.R. Laurence in Los Angeles, which then had just one location, with an "entry-level job", as its sixth employee. A few years later, Bernie Harris, the owner, sold him a 10% stake, and he gradually acquired more, eventually buying Harris out when he retired. When Harris retired in 1997, he bought the 50% he did not already own.
In 2015, he sold the company to the Irish conglomerate CRH plc for $1.3 billion cash, retaining most of the real estate and continuing as CEO. It was reported that Friese made $885 million from the sale of the company.
Friese has been married to Andrea for 53 years (as of June 2017), and lives in Chatsworth, Los Angeles. They have a weekend house in Malibu. They have three children.