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Freddie Prinze Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (10)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 22 June 1954New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 29 January 1977Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (suicide by gunshot)
Birth NameFrederick Karl Pruetzel
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Freddie Prinze was born Frederick Karl Pruetzel in New York City, New York, to a Puerto Rican mother, Aurea Elena Ruiz, and a German immigrant father, Edward Karl Pruetzel. Freddie grew up in the Washington Heights section of New York City. As a chubby child, he was often bullied, but was quite creative and bright in his extracurricular activities (he was known to have handmade a ham radio, which he used regularly). Early on, he aspired to become famous, and, after enrolling at Fiorella LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts, he obtained a job at the Improv Club, in New York, where people started to take notice of his comedic talent (but the long hours he worked at night, balanced by increasing absences in school, caused him to drop out of high school to pursue comedy full-time). He changed his name to Freddie Prinze (to indicate that he was "The Prince of Comedy"). In December 1973, he was invited to perform on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson", which proved to be a breakthrough performance, as he was invited to chat with Johnny after his performance (only two other comedians have enjoyed that privilege). Soon afterwards, he won the role of "Chico Rodriquez" in an NBC-produced TV series called Chico and the Man (1974)(he and co-star Jack Albertson forged a great friendship while working on the show). In 1975, he released a comedy album, titled "Looking Good", and further boosted his popularity with appearances on various TV talk shows (such as the "Tony Orlando & Dawn" show). In Las Vegas in August 1975, he married Katherine Cochran, with whom he had a son, Freddie Prinze, Jr. (born on March 8, 1976 in Albuquerque, New Mexico). He loved his role as a father, and his growing popularity. But all the fame had a downside to it: Freddie developed an addiction to drugs (namely Quaaludes and cocaine), and was subsequently arrested in Nov. 1976 for DUI. Also, his marriage to Kathy was dissolving, and they separated. Things were unraveling quickly for him, and he started to mention thoughts of suicide to many of his close friends and family (including his best friends: singer 'Tony Orlando' and comedian David Brenner). In January 1977, following his final public appearance (at the Inaugural Ball for President Jimmy Carter), 22-year-old Freddie called his mother, friends and manager and announced that he was committing suicide. While his manager tried to stop him, he placed a .32 caliber pistol against his temple and pulled the trigger. Miraculously, he did not die right away, and was rushed to UCLA Medical Center with a massive head wound. He was kept on life support until January 29, 1977, when his family and friends decided to turn off the life support, to let him rest in peace. On his TV show, his death resulted in his "Chico" character being replaced by a young child; the show was canceled soon afterwards. He was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, and his funeral was attended by many who had known him (Jack Albertson, his co-star and friend, Tony Orlando, Sammy Davis, Jr., etc.). He left behind a wife and infant son. On a positive note, more than two decades after his death, his only son, 'Freddie Prinze, Jr.', has carried on the Prinze name and become a star in his own right.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Comedian Freddie Prinze seemed to have everything going for him by 1977. He was the star of a hit network series. Beautiful women were drawn to his good looks and natural charm. He was the father of a baby boy named after him. But there were a lot of things Freddie Prinze had against him: a failed marriage, an expensive drug habit, and a morbid fascination with guns. Freddie Prinze was born on June 22, 1954 and grew up in Washington Heights, a poor section of upper Manhattan in New York City. His father was a German immigrant, his mother a Puerto Rican immigrant. At the age of 16, Freddie made his debut at the Improv during one of that club's regular non-paying showcases. The Improv was the hip Manhattan nightclub responsible for launching the careers of such talented comedians as David Brenner and Robin Williams. Freddie drew on his mixed heritage to make audiences laugh. The Improv's owner, Budd Friedman, recalled that the teenager was an instant success. TV appearances with Johnny Carson as well as Jack Paar led to Freddie being cast at age 19 in the TV series "Chico and the Man," co-starring Jack Albertson. Freddie's rise to stardom was so quick that he often had difficulty accepting it. To ease his insecurities from the long working hours on his series, Freddie turned to Quaaludes and other drugs. Freddie's apparent instability to sustain a healthy romantic relationship also created problems. Women were eager to date him, but he doubted their sincerity. Freddie was briefly engaged to Kitty Bruce, daughter of the late comedian Lenny Bruce, one of Freddie's idols. A short-lived marriage to Kathy Cochran in 1976 produced a son, Freddie Prinze Jr.. Freddie Prinze, Sr.'s life came to an end when on January 28, 1977, Freddie phoned several people, including his personal secretary and his psychiatrist. Martin Snyder, Freddie's agent, arrived at his apartment shortly after two in the morning in response to a call a distraught Freddie made to him earlier that evening. While Snyder was still in the apartment, Freddie phoned his ex-wife and parents. After hanging up, he pulled a pistol from beneath a couch cushion and fired into the right temple of his head. He lingered for nearly 12 hours in a coma before being turned off life support. He was 22. Close friends, shocked at the news, speculated that Freddie had not intended to kill himself but was merely playing a prank that went wrong. A little later, police investigators found a note in Freddie's apartment which said, "I can't go on," which may have been his suicide note.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Matthew Patay

Spouse (1)

Kathy Prinze (13 October 1975 - 29 January 1977) (his death) (1 child)

Trivia (10)

Father of Freddie Prinze Jr.
Interred at Forest Lawn (Hollywood Hills), Los Angeles, California, USA, in the Court of Remembrance.
During his lifetime, Freddie described his ethnic heritage as 'Hunga-rican' (Hungarian and Puerto Rican). While Freddie's mother was of Puerto Rican ancestry, Freddie's father was German, not Hungarian. Freddie's father, Edward Karl Pruetzel, was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1914, to Friedrich Karl Prutzel and Eleonare Maria Schultes. Edward moved to the United States in 1934. Prinze's son, Freddie Prinze, Jr., has stated that his father was of half German and half Puerto Rican ancestry.
Dropped out of the Fiorello LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts to pursue his comedy career.
Was pulled over on a highway on November 16, 1976, for DUI. At the time, he was under the influence of methaqualone, a prescription drug that was prescribed by his psychiatrist.
Explained how he got his professional last name by saying, "Bob Hope is the King of Comedy. Everyone knows that. I'd just be content with being the prince". He later altered prince to Prinze.
His last public performance was less than a week before his death, at the Jimmy Carter Inaugural Gala in Washington D.C.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Television at 6755 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
He appeared on the show "Jack Paar Tonite" with actor Charlton Heston who said that he hoped one day he would able to say he was on the first show on which Freddie Prinze performed.
Roomed with Jay Leno when both were fledgling entertainers, during which time, Prinze learned how to drive a car under Leno's tutelage.

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