Freddie Prinze (June 22, 1954 – January 29, 1977) was an American actor and stand-up comedian. He was known as the star of Chico and the Man. He was the father of actor Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Prinze was born Frederick Karl Pruetzel at St. Clair's Hospital in New York City, the son of Maria Graniela Pruetzel and Edward Karl 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 predominately Hispanic neighborhood in Washington Heights, New York City. He began his education at a private Lutheran school, in a religious compromise by his parents (his mother took him to Catholic mass on Sundays). When Prinze was a small child, his mother enrolled him in ballet classes to deal with his 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.