20 Fantastic Facts On Freddie Prinze

1. Prinze was the star of 1970s NBC-TV sitcom Chico and the Man.

2. Prinze was born Frederick Karl Pruetzel in New York City, the son of Edward Karl Pruetzel and his wife Maria Graniela Pruetzel.

3. His mother was Puerto Rican and his father was a German immigrant who had arrived in the U.S. as a youth in 1934.

4. 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.

5. 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” .

6. For the sake of his budding comedic career, he changed his surname to “Prinze”, which he chose because, according to his friend, David Brenner, he originally wanted to be known as the King of comedy.

7. But Alan King already had that last name, so he would be the Prince of comedy instead.

8. During 1973 he made his first television appearance on one of the last episodes of Jack Paar Tonite.

9. Prinze was the first young comedian to be asked to have a sit-down chat with Carson on his first appearance. .

10. He also appeared on The Midnight Special to perform his comic routine.

11. 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.

12. Prinze made several appearances on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, most notably at the roasts for Sammy Davis Jr. and Muhammad Ali.

13. In 1976, he starred in a made-for-TV movie, The Million Dollar Rip-Off.

14. 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.

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

16. Becoming 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.

17. Prinze married Kathy Elaine Cochran in October 1975, with whom he had one son, Freddie Prinze, Jr.

18. On November 16, 1976, Prinze was arrested for driving under the influence of Quaaludes.

19. A few weeks later his wife filed for divorce on the grounds that his escalating drug dependence was endangering their infant son.

20. She recalls their relationship in chapter 19 of her autobiographical memoir, My Life in Three Acts.

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