DEAD: Freddie Prinze

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Freddie Prinze (aged 22)

Actor, stand-up comedian (Chico and the Man)

Freddie James Prinze (born Frederick Karl Pruetzel; June 22, 1954 – January 29, 1977) was an American stand-up comedian and actor. Prinze was the star of NBC-TV sitcom Chico and the Man from 1974 until his death in 1977. Prinze is the father of actor Freddie Prinze Jr.

DEATH: Prinze suffered from depression, which deepened in the weeks after his wife filed for divorce. On the night of January 28, 1977, after talking on the telephone with his estranged wife, Prinze received a visit from his business manager, Marvin “Dusty” Snyder. With Snyder looking on, Prinze put a gun to his head and shot himself. Prinze was rushed to the UCLA Medical Center and placed on life support following emergency surgery. His family removed him from life support, and he died at 1 p.m. on January 29.

In 1977, the death was ruled a suicide. However, in 1983 in a civil case brought by his mother, a jury found that his death was medication-induced and accidental, which enabled the family to receive a significant life insurance settlement. (Prinze had had a history of playing Russian roulette to frighten his friends for his amusement, though he made farewell phone calls to numerous family members and friends on the night of his death and left a note stating that he had decided to take his life.) Prinze is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles, near his father, Edward Karl Pruetzel. His son, Freddie Prinze Jr., who was less than one year old when his father died, did not speak publicly about it until he discussed it in the documentary Misery Loves Comedy (2015), directed by Kevin Pollak.

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