Hunga Rican History Minute
Frederick Karl Pruetzel (Freddie Prinze) was born on June 22, 1954 in New York City. He attended the Fiorello LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts, but dropped out to pursue a career as a stand-up comic. Prinze's early material revolved around his unique ethnic heritage. His mother was Puerto Rican and his father was a Hungarian Jew. He frequently referred to himself in his act as a "Hungarican." It was this early ethnic-based stand-up work that led to his big break on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where Prinze impressed both Carson and casting directors. Soon Prinze was cast in the title role of Chico in Chico & The Man. [...] Sadly, he was not prepared for the stresses and pressures that came with the level of fame he had achieved so quickly. Prinze struggled with drug abuse and his marriage failed. On January 19, 1977 Freddie Prinze made what was to become his final public appearance at the Inaugural Ball for President Jimmy Carter. One week later, Prinze wrote a good-bye note and took his own life.
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