Freddie Prinze

Actor / Comedian
Date Of Birth:
22 June 1954
Date Of Death:
29 January 1977
self-inflicted gunshot
Place Of Birth:
New York City, New York
Best Known As:
Comedian and star of TV's Chico and the Man

Name at birth: Frederick Karl Pruetzel

Freddie Prinze was one of the most popular comedians in America when, tragically, he shot himself in 1977. The son of a Puerto Rican mother and a Hungarian father, Freddie Prinze was a 20-year-old stand-up comedian when he won the title role on the TV sitcom Chico and the Man in 1974. He played Chico Rodriguez, a sharp-witted young Latino who gets a job in a garage run by a cranky old white man (Jack Albertson). The show made its debut in 1974 and was soon a ratings success. By 1977, Prinze was one of the biggest stars on TV, even performing at that year's inaugural ball for President Jimmy Carter. At the height of his popularity, despondent over personal problems and apparently under the influence of drugs, Freddie Prinze shot himself in the head on January 29, 1977. He died several hours later. The actual details of Prinze’s death remain controversial: coroner Thomas Noguchi ruled his death a suicide, but after Prinze’s family challenged the ruling, a civil jury decided that the shooting was accidental, allowing Prinze’s family to collect on his $200,000 life insurance policy.
Extra Credit

Freddie Prinze married Kathy Elaine Barber in 1975; they were estranged at the time of his death in 1977. Their son, the actor Freddie Prinze, Jr., was born in 1976… Freddie Prinze’s career, like that of Bill Cosby, took off after he appeared on Johnny Carson‘s Tonight Show.

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