- Category : Entertainment-Comedy
- Type : PE
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Vessel of Love 2
American actor and standup TV comedian, known for co-starring in the TV series "Chico and the Man." His hit show premiered in September 1974 and quickly rose to one of the top ten programs, a heady overnight success, primarily through Prinze's performance. The difficult schedule of the show, however, drove Prinze to reinforce himself with an assortment of drugs and alcohol.
Raised in New York's Washington Heights ghetto, Freddie was the second child of Karl and Maria Pruetzel who had lost a daughter, Alice, in a swimming pool drowning prior to Freddie's birth. Freddie learned to entertain early. Regarded as an outsider in his predominantly Spanish neighborhood, because his Hungarian descent made him look white, he got attention with jokes and impressions. In the process, he enjoyed having an audience. His parents enrolled him in the High School of Performing Arts, and while he enjoyed it thoroughly, he found relief from the pressure through drugs.
By age 17, he had won local recognition for his performances in amateur productions of "West Side Story" and "Bye Bye Birdie." He then began developing comedy routines, and, after changing his last name to the more theatrical "Prinze", began trying them out in local clubs. He earned bookings, and was caught at one by a TV talent scout who asked the 19-year-old to appear on "The Jack Paar Show." He was a big success and was invited in December 1973 to do the "Tonight Show." Seen by producer James Komack, Prinze was asked to test for a TV series, "Chico and the Man" and won out over five seasoned actors.
Prinze married Katherine Elaine Cochran, a travel agent, in October 1975 and they had a son, Fred James Prinze the following March. His drug problem became more severe, and in the fall of 1976, Kathy Prinze petitioned for divorce.
Attempting to straighten out, he gave up drugs, took up karate as a tension outlet, saw a therapist, and threw himself into work, doing "Chico and the Man" by day and performing at Caesar's Palace each night.
However his drug use and peculiar behavior took its toll, and in the early morning hours of 1/29/1977, while on Quaaludes Prinze put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. His manager, Martin Snyder, was present. (He died some 37 hours later, on 1/30/1977, and was buried on 1/31/1977.) In January 1983, a superior court judge finally decreed that Prinze had not intended to take his life, which meant that two life insurance policies were valid.