Facts about Freddie Prinze
Freddie Prinze Biography
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.