Remembering Freddie Prinze

Growing up I watched Chico and the Man and I still do occasionally. I remember that Freddie Prinze was a huge star. He was a hit with kids and adults a like. 

Freddie became a star practically overnight and burned brightly…but unfortunately, it was only for a brief amount of time. I was just 10 when he died and it seemed unreal a talented twenty-two year old tv star/comedian would kill himself. 

He was a comedian whose real name was Frederick Karl Pruetzel. He was born in 1954 in New York. His mother was of Puerto Rican descent and his father was of Hungarian roots…two things he used in his comedy.

He worked in clubs in the early seventies and then he got his break. He appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on December 6, 1973, and Johnny called him over to his couch to talk to him. That was a dream to performers then. Being called to the couch meant Johnny liked you and could make your career. Remember no internet or other exposure to this big of an audience. He became a star overnight. Freddie was 19 years old.

Within a few months, he was starring with Jack Albertson on the hit show Chico and the Man.

The show had a supporting cast of Scatman Crothers and Della Reese. It had a cool factor with teenagers at the time because of Freddie. Chico and the Man was not the greatest sitcom ever but a good one that captured a talented young comedian on his way up.

Freddie came out with a 70’s catchphrase “Looking Good” with a comedy album of the same name. He appeared in one TV movie called The Million Dollar Rip-Off and an HBO On Location: Freddie Prinze and Friends.

He suffered from depression and he had a dependency on drugs that kept growing like his fame.

Through all of this, he got married and had a son…the actor Freddie Prinze Jr… His wife started to move toward a divorce and a despondent Prinze shot himself in a hotel room and died the next day on January 29, 1977, only 3 years after his introduction to the world by Johnny Carson.

People don’t remember how big Freddie was then. He was so young and vibrant when he made it…he was just 22 years old when he died.

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

25 thoughts on “Remembering Freddie Prinze”

    1. I agree…he was really special and I think that Chico and the Man was just the start for him.

      One thing I remember… is him and Tony Orlando were good friends and looked a lot alike. They appeared together a few times and joked about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. He was young, vibrant and handsome. He was a terrific standup comedian. Very smart, acerbic without being mean. I loved him. I was eleven when he died. I loved Chico and the Man. Jack Albert was the consummate character actor. He and Prinze had perfect timing. Thanks for making me remember.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I watched “Chico and the Man” pretty regularly, and really liked Freddie Prinze. He was handsome and talented, and it was such a terrible tragedy that he got despondent enough to take his own life at the age of only 22.

    It was good to see his stand-up routine in the video you shared, and also seeing a very young Jay Leno afterward. Great post Max.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!
      Being so young at the time I just couldn’t understand it…it’s hard now…but I’ve known a few people with severe depression…luckily it didn’t end up this way for them…but it could have.
      With Prinze it all happened so quick.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Another talent gone too soon. I don’t know much about him… I do remember chico & the Man, but only vaguely because I was pretty young- around 6 I guess – when it was on. I thought it lasted longer than it did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was 10 when he died so I remembered it quite well…kinda the same with Jim Croce but more shock becasue I watched Chico and the Man every week…unlike Jim where I listened to him.


    1. Thats the one! Yea but geez 22 is crazy…I do think part of it was too much too soon and on top of the depression he had


      1. Yea that was the thing that pushed him… or the last thing. In his last Chico you can tell he is on something.


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