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Freddie Prinze

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Cause of death

Freddie Prinze

Stand-up, television


Years active

Freddie Prinze, Jr.

Freddie Prinze httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsaa

Full Name
Frederick Karl Pruetzel

June 22, 1954 (
New York, New York, U.S.

Race relations, racism, recreational drug use

January 29, 1977, Los Angeles, California, United States

Kathy Prinze (m. 1975–1977)

Movies and TV shows
Chico and the Man, Million Dollar Rip Off

Maria Pruetzel, Karl Pruetzel

Similar People
Kathy Prinze, Jack Albertson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, George Lopez, James Komack

Freddie prinze

Freddie James Prinze (born Frederick Karl Pruetzel; June 22, 1954 – January 29, 1977) was an American actor and stand-up comedian. Prinze was the star of 1970s NBC-TV sitcom Chico and the Man. He is the father of the actor Freddie Prinze Jr..


Freddie Prinze Freddie Prinze Jr Wikipedia

Freddie Prinze Jr. unveils H'wood star to comic-actor dad

Early life

Prinze was born Frederick Karl Pruetzel in New York City, the son of Edward Karl Pruetzel (1914-1979) and his wife Maria Graniela Pruetzel (1918-1994). His mother was Puerto Rican and his father was a Hungarian immigrant who had arrived in the U.S. as a youth in 1934.

Prinze was raised in a mixed neighborhood in Washington Heights, New York City. When Prinze was a small child, his mother enrolled him in ballet classes to deal with a weight problem. Without telling his parents, Prinze successfully auditioned for the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, where he was introduced to drama and continued ballet — and where he discovered his gift for comedy while entertaining crowds in the boys' restroom. He dropped out of school in his senior year to become a stand-up comedian.


Prinze worked at several comedy clubs in New York City, including The Improv and Catch a Rising Star, where he introduced himself to audiences as a "Hungarican" (part Hungarian, part Puerto Rican). For the sake of his budding comedic career, he changed his surname to "Prinze". He chose this name because, according to his friend David Brenner, Prinze originally wanted to be known as the King of comedy but Alan King already had that last name and sobriquet, so he would be the Prince of comedy instead.

During 1973 he made his first television appearance on one of the last episodes of Jack Paar Tonite. In December 1973, his biggest break came with an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Prinze was the first young comedian to be asked to have a sit-down chat with Carson on his first appearance. Prinze appeared on and guest hosted The Tonight Show on several other occasions. He also appeared on The Midnight Special to perform his comic routine. From September 1974 until his death in January 1977, Prinze starred as Francisco "Chico" Rodriguez in the NBC TV series Chico and the Man with Jack Albertson. The show was an instant hit.

Prinze made several appearances on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, most notably the roasts for Sammy Davis Jr. and Muhammad Ali. In 1975, he released a comedy album that was taped live at Mr. Kelly's in Chicago titled Looking Good—his catch phrase from Chico and the Man. In 1976, he starred in a made-for-TV movie, The Million Dollar Rip-Off.

Prinze had a little-known talent for singing, examples of which could be heard in the background of the title song of the Tony Orlando and Dawn album To Be With You, in his appearances on their variety show, and on rare occasions on his own sitcom.

About four months before his death, Prinze had signed a multi-year deal with NBC worth $6 million over five years.

When he became wealthy, Prinze took martial arts lessons from Robert Wall, a student of Bruce Lee, who appeared in Enter the Dragon and Return of the Dragon. Soon after, Wall became godfather to Prinze's newborn son Freddie Prinze Jr.

On December 14, 2004, the Hollywood Walk of Fame honored Prinze's contribution to the television industry with a star, located at 6755 Hollywood Boulevard.

Personal life

Prinze married Katherine (Kathy) Elaine (Barber) Cochran on October 13, 1975, with whom he had one son, Freddie Prinze Jr., who was born March 8, 1976. Prinze was arrested for driving under the influence of Quaaludes on November 16, 1976. A few weeks later his wife filed for divorce.

Prinze had been romantically linked to actress Pam Grier; she recalls their relationship in chapter 19 of her autobiographical memoir, My Life in Three Acts.


Prinze suffered from depression, which deepened in the weeks after his wife filed for divorce. On the night of January 28, 1977, after talking on the telephone with his estranged wife, Prinze received a visit from his business manager, Marvin "Dusty" Snyder. With Snyder looking on, Prinze put a gun to his head and shot himself. Prinze was rushed to the UCLA Medical Center to be placed on life support following emergency surgery. His family removed him from life support, and he died at 1 p.m. on January 29.

In 1977, the death was ruled a suicide. In a civil case brought years later, a jury found that his death was accidental. Prinze had a history of playing Russian roulette to frighten his friends for his amusement. However, Prinze had left a note stating that he had decided to take his life.

He is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, near his father, Edward Karl Pruetzel.

His son, actor Freddie Prinze Jr., who was less than one year old when his father died, did not speak publicly about it until he discussed it in detail in the documentary, Misery Loves Comedy (2015), directed by Kevin Pollak.


Prinze's mother wrote a book about her son, The Freddie Prinze Story (1978).

Can You Hear the Laughter: The Story of Freddie Prinze (September 1979) is a TV biopic.

Prinze's life and death were a focal point of one of the storylines in the movie Fame (1980), set in Prinze's alma mater, LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts. The character Ralph Garcy (stage name for Raul Garcia) (played by Barry Miller) speaks often of growing up with Prinze and seeing him as the local neighborhood hero. Prinze's death affects him profoundly, and Garcy credits Prinze with inspiring his own career; he says he is doing it "for Freddie". Later, as Garcy's stand-up career shows similar promise, he falls into depression and drug use as Prinze had, nearly destroying himself. The character Doris Finsecker (Maureen Teefy) in one scene screams at Garcy that he is not Freddie, and he does not have to be self-destructive just because Freddie was.

Prinze received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on December 14, 2004. Actor/Comedian George Lopez has acknowledged that he personally paid the $10,000 induction fee for Prinze's Star.

In 2001, TV Land began showing reruns of Chico and the Man.


Chico and the Man (TV Series) as
Chico Rodriguez
- Ed Talks to God (1977) - Chico Rodriguez
- Black Tie Blues (1977) - Chico Rodriguez
- Matchmaker, Matchmaker (1977) - Chico Rodriguez
- Chico's Padre (1977) - Chico Rodriguez
- Champs Ain't Chumps (1977) - Chico Rodriguez
- A Minority of One (1977) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Dress (1977) - Chico Rodriguez
- Ready When You Are, CB (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- Old Is Gold (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- Mucho Macho Ed (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- Morgan and the Man (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- Ed Brown vs. the IRS (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- Ed's Recuperation (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- In Your Hat (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- Chico's Problem (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- Chico Packs His Bags (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- Second Coming of Della (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- Della Moves In (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Face Job (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- Too Many Crooks (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Return of Aunt Connie (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- Chico's Cousin Pepe (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Accident (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Big Brush-Off (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- Reverend Bemis's Altar Ego (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Hypnotist (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Dream (1976) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Juror (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Invention (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Strike (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- Bird in a Gilded Cage (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Misfortune Teller (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- Mister Butterfly (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- Ms. Liz (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- Chico and the Van (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Disappearance (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- Play Gypsy (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- Aunt Connie (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- This Hallowed Garage (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Paint Job (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- Long Live the Man (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- Louie's Retirement (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Giveaway (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Doctor Story (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- Sammy Stops In (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- Ed Steps Out (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- If I Were a Rich Man (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Beard (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- Out of Sight (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- Garage Sale (1975) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Manuel Who Came to Dinner (1974) - Chico Rodriguez
- Natural Causes (1974) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Letter (1974) - Chico Rodriguez
- No Room in the Garage (1974) - Chico Rodriguez
- The Veterans (1974) - Chico Rodriguez
- Lifestyle (1974) - Chico Rodriguez
- E Pluribus Used Car (1974) - Chico Rodriguez
- Borrowed Trouble (1974) - Chico Rodriguez
- New Suit (1974) - Chico Rodriguez
- Old Dog (1974) - Chico Rodriguez
- Second Thoughts (1974) - Chico Rodriguez
- Pilot (1974) - Chico Rodriguez
The Million Dollar Rip-Off (TV Movie) as
Muff Kovak
Chico and the Man (TV Series) (written by - 1 episode)
- Chico Packs His Bags (1976) - (written by)
On Location: Freddie Prinze and Friends (TV Special documentary)
Surely, You Jest (Documentary) (special thanks)
Van Dyke and Company (TV Series) as
- Episode #1.7 (1976) - Self
NBC: The First Fifty Years (TV Movie documentary) as
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (TV Series) as
Self - Guest / Self / Self - Guest Host / ...
- Anthony Newley/Freddie Prinze/Jan Stephenson/Ray Johnson (1976) - Self - Guest
- Joey Bishop/Freddie Prinze/Betty Garrett/Ray Johnson (1976) - Self
- Bob Hope/Michael Landon/Freddie Prinze/Don Rickles/Carol Wayne (1974) - Self - Guest Comic
Tony Orlando and Dawn (TV Series) as
- England Dan and John Ford Coley/Freddie Prinze (1976) - Self
- Freddie Prinze/Adrienne Barbeau (1975) - Self
Dinah! (TV Series) as
Self / Self - Guest
- Episode #3.5 (1976) - Self
- Episode #2.209 (1976) - Self
- Episode #2.165 (1976) - Self
- Episode #2.45 (1975) - Self
- Episode #2.18 (1975) - Self - Guest
- Episode #1.69 (1975) - Self
The Great NBC Smilin' Saturday Mornin' Parade (TV Movie) as
Self - Host
The Kelly Monteith Show (TV Series) as
- Episode dated 16 June 1976 (1976) - Self
On Location: Freddie Prinze and Friends (TV Special documentary) as
From Montreal, the Bob Hope Olympic Benefit (TV Special) as
The Hollywood Squares (Daytime) (TV Series) as
Self - Panelist
- Episode dated 3 April 1976 (1976) - Self - Panelist
- Episode dated 2 April 1976 (1976) - Self - Panelist
- Episode dated 1 April 1976 (1976) - Self - Panelist
- Episode dated 2 September 1974 (1974) - Self - Panelist
- Episode dated 1 July 1974 (1974) - Self - Panelist
Joys! (TV Special) as
Freddie Prinze
The Rich Little Show (TV Series) as
- Betty White and C.W. McCall (1976) - Self
The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Muhammad Ali (TV Special) as
The Mike Douglas Show (TV Series) as
Self - Co-Host / Self - Actor / Self / ...
- Episode #15.55 (1975) - Self - Actor
- Episode #14.174 (1975) - Self - Co-Host
- Episode #14.172 (1975) - Self - Co-Host
- Episode #14.70 (1974) - Self - Co-Host
- Episode #14.69 (1974) - Self - Co-Host
- Episode #14.64 (1974) - Self - Actor
- Episode #13.240 (1974) - Self - Comedian
- Episode #13.131 (1974) - Self
- Episode #13.114 (1974) - Self
Sammy and Company (TV Series) as
- Lucille Ball, Freddie Prinze, Chuck Berry and Maya Angelou (1975) - Self
- Ray Charles, Suzanne Pleshette, Freddie Prinze and Marlena Shaw (1975) - Self
American Bandstand (TV Series) as
- Episode #19.2 (1975) - Self
Dean Martin Celebrity Roast: Sammy Davis Jr. (TV Special) as
The $25,000 Pyramid (TV Series) as
Self - Celebrity Contestant
- Episode dated 20 March 1975 (1975) - Self - Celebrity Contestant
- Episode dated 19 December 1974 (1974) - Self - Celebrity Contestant
Cher (TV Series) as
- Episode #1.5 (1975) - Self
The 1975 Annual Entertainment Hall of Fame Awards (TV Special) as
The Smothers Brothers Show (TV Series) as
- Episode #1.2 (1975) - Self
The Flip Wilson Special (TV Special) as
The Dean Martin Comedy World (TV Series) as
- Episode #1.4 (1974) - Self
- Episode #1.2 (1974) - Self
The Midnight Special (TV Series) as
- Guest Host: David Steinberg; All-Comedy Show with The Ace Trucking Company, Franklin Ajaye, Kentucky Fried Theater, Freddie Prinze, Monty Python's Flying Circus (1974) - Self
The Merv Griffin Show (TV Series) as
- George Jessel, Joan Rivers, Freddie Prinze, Olivia Newton-John (1974) - Self
- Freddie Prinze, Ricky Segall, Paul Williams, Maxine Weldon, The Hagers (1974) - Self
- Freddie Prinze, Wayne Rogers, Ben Murphy, Charo, Kenny Kingston (1973) - Self
Archive Footage
Dark Side of Comedy (TV Series documentary)
- Freddie Prinze (2022)
Autopsy: The Last Hours of (TV Series documentary) as
Self - Actor and Comedian
- Freddie Prinze (2022) - Self - Actor and Comedian
History of the Sitcom (TV Series documentary) as
- Facing Race (2021) - Self
Live at Mister Kelly's (Documentary) as
The Comedy Store (TV Mini Series documentary) as
- The Birth of a Bit (2020) - Self
- The Comedy Strike (2020) - Self
- Saw You Last Night on The Tonight Show (2020) - Self
Wait in the Wings (TV Series documentary) as
- Fame (1980): A Musical Revolution? (2020) - Self
The History of Comedy (TV Series documentary) as
- One Nation, Under Comedy (2017) - Self
Entertainment Tonight (TV Series) as
- Episode dated 11 June 2016 (2016) - Self
Extra (TV Series) as
- Episode dated 11 June 2016 (2016) - Self
The Tragic Side of Comedy (TV Movie documentary) as
Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (Documentary) as
Self (uncredited)
100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time (TV Mini Series) as
Self #49
101 Most Shocking Moments in Entertainment (TV Movie documentary) as
E! True Hollywood Story (TV Series documentary) as
- Freddie Prinze (1998) - Self
Behind the Music (TV Series documentary) as
- Tony Orlando (1998) - Self
Classic Stand-Up Comedy of Television (TV Special documentary) as
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (TV Series) as
- The last Tonight Show (1992) - Self
Hollywood Scandals and Tragedies (Video documentary) as
Chico and the Man (TV Series) as
Chico Rodriguez
- Raul Runs Away: Part 1 (1978) - Chico Rodriguez (uncredited)


Freddie Prinze Wikipedia

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