Freddie Prinze (Frederick Karl Pruetzel; June 22, 1954 – January 29, 1977) was an American actor and stand-up comedian. Prinze was the star of 1970s sitcom Chico and the Man. He is the father of actor Freddie Prinze, Jr. Prinze was born Frederick Karl Pruetzel at St. Clair's Hospital in New York City, son of Edward Karl Pruetzel and his wife Maria Graniela Pruetzel. His mother was Puerto Rican, and his father was a German immigrant who had arrived in the U.S. in 1934. Prinze identified himself as Puerto Rican, and for comedic purposes called himself a "Hungarican." 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. Without telling his parents, Prinze successfully auditioned for the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, where he was introduced to drama and continued ballet—and where he discovered his gift for comedy while entertaining crowds in the boys restroom. He dropped out of school in his senior year to become a stand-up comedian.
Frederick Karl Pruetzel