The great thing about amazing comedians is that they inspire us with their lives and long long after that! Freddie died the year that I was born and he inspires me every day that I’m alive. Because of him, Latin comedians everywhere know that it is possible to achieve greatness!!! Because of him, I know that I can make it in this business!
I had the privilege to meet Freddie Jr., at his home in NYC. I was very nervous to meet the son of a comedy legend! I was surprised to find out that Freddie Jr. was actually excited to meet ME because I've performed in many of the clubs that his father did – Freddie Jr. was so intrigued by that. I was impressed to see that although Freddie Jr. wasn’t raised by his father – his father is very much alive within him. We had a great evening and spoke a lot about his Father and his Puerto Rican familia who were always there for him. I know that Freddie Sr. would be proud to know that his son is very proud of him and his Hungarican culture!
Every time I meet someone who doesn’t know Freddie Prinze – I hit ‘em in the head, sit ‘em down and school them on the great talent that he was! Thank you Freddie for leaving an undying legacy! As long as Latin comedy lives - Freddie Prinze will never be forgotten! WEPAAAA!!!!!
Comedian, Actress, Writer
The ons and offs of Freddie Prinze
By Dick Sauders
“They say comedians are always on,” says Freddie Prinze who’s only the hottest young comedian around. At the moment, Freddie is definitely on.
It's only an interview, and the audience consists of two people - a writer and a photographer. But Freddie’s doing helluva show. He’s even wearing makeup - his Max Factor - bronze face in startling contrast to the whiteness of his hands.
Ask him a simple question and he gives you a simple answer - followed by an ad-lib comedy routine. His agile 20 year-old mind seems to find humor in almost any situation.
Ask about the neighborhood in New York where he grew up, and Freddie gives you an initiation of a talking cockroach.
“We lived in a suburb of the ghetto because they were too tough.”
Now, Freddie lives in California.
“L.A. I love it. Everybody’s a superstar. A guy will tell you, Yeah, I’m a producer.’ And he’s driving a cab.”
Freddie moved his Hungarian father and Puerto Rican mother from New York to a house in the San Fernando Valley. “Swimming pool, garden and everything. I even hired a wino to sit out in front so they’d feel at home”
Between punch lines he chain smokes and scans his audience of two with weary eyes. But he needn’t worry. His interview performance is every bit of entertaining as an episode of his TV Series Chico and the Man, or the night club act he’s doing at Mr. Kelly’s through Sunday.
He’s charming and disarming - the picture of a young star who’s enjoying his sudden success with out seemingly spoiled to it.
What about the Hollywood gossips who say Hollywood has gone to his head?
“I do wish they would check there facts,” he harrumphs in a mock British accent. “What can they say about me?’ Look he’s eating at restaurants! Yesterday he bought a sweater! How dare he fritter away his money on food and clothing when he could be donating it some worthy cause?”
What about his rumored romances with those glamorous movie land amazons Raquel Welch and Pam Grier - both considerably older than he is.
“ I like older women,” Freddie grins. “They don’t play games. There was a picture of me and Raquel on the front page of a newspaper. But it was a fake-two pictures pasted together. We went to dinner together a few times….to a movie. Now she says she doesn't even know me. There was no big romance. But I know Raquel whether she wants to admit it or not”.
And Pam Grier?
“Yes I know Pamela VEDDY well,” says Freddie in his British accent.
One subject he gets serious about is comedy.
“When think about it, it borders on masochism. If someone from another planet saw a comedian standing up in front of a crowd of people who were laughing at him, he’s say,
“It’s crying out for attention, and doing anything to get it.
It’s saying, ‘Hey look at me!”
“I don’t think I’m a part of my mind that’s always working -keeping a record of things that might be funny.”
“Like the other day, I was taping Kup’s show and this British guy was talking about the Revolutionary War. And I got this idea: We should elect criminals” His words are racing to keep up with his mind, and logic falls by the wayside. “Like, vote for Percy Sluge for bank robber.’ Then the police would know who to look for when something happened. We’ve elected criminals before . But we didn’t find out until after the election.
“Lee Harvey Oswald is probably the only assassin who went to heaven,” he adds from out of no where. It’s a desperately unfunny line. And suddenly Freddie isn’t “on” anymore. The wariness leaves his eyes , and the nightclub timing is forgotten as he proceeds to demolish the one-bullet theory in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The pale hands fly through the air, re-creating a tragic day in 1963, when Freddie was 9 years old.
It’s a story not even Freddie can find a punch line for and he delivers it with the fervency of his idol, Lenny Bruce who died when Freddie was 12.
“I never saw Lenny Bruce, but I know all about him. I heard every tape. I’ve talked with his mother. His daughter is like a sister to me. Can you imagine missing someone you never knew?”
“Like Marilyn Monroe. I’d have given anything to be one foot of her. Or Rita Hayworth. When I was 5, I saw a Rita Hayworth movie. I think that was when I decided
“Now I want to live in Hollywood, but I still haven’t met Rita Hayworth. You can see me
run up and down Sunset Blvd. Calling. ‘Rita, where are you?’”
Freddie is on again, he scans the audience and both of them are laughing.
"Freddie Prinze helped me become a comedian. Being a young Latino I didn't know who he was at first. Chico and the Man didn't air during the 80's. I discovered him when I was hired to impersonate him in a show called, "Great Comedian's of Color".
The more researching I did the more I discovered what a great talent he was. Through his comedy and his story he gave me the strength to pursue my dreams. He is prove that no matter where you come from you can make a difference in this world.
He also taught me the dangers of show biz, and that even good people can make mistakes. Although I was saddened by his sudden death, he did not die in vain. People like me will carry his legacy on and on forever through time and I shall never forget what Freddie
did for me."
When I was Little I wanted to be Freddie Prinze all I could think about was having a show like that and did you know I have an Original Head shot of Him that I hung in my comedy club and I also had his picture in the back ground of my movie homeless.
In memory of Richard Pryor 1940-2005
Freddie on the HBO special "Freddie Prinze and friends"
When I first saw Freddie perform was at Catch a rising star as a newcomer and he was very nervous with his routine which I cannot remember what it was except for talking about being beat up all the time. I think Robert Klein did a bit as well that night. What stood out about him was his smile and how I could see the girls faces and how they were checking him out. His accent didn't hurt as well. I thought to myself...I want to do this. This could be alot of fun. I saw him about six months after and by then when the word got out he would be showing up to do a monologe you had to either work there or know somneone to get in that night. I actually met him in the bar at Catch while I was waiting to go on amatuer night when I first started. He was talking to Rodney Dangerfield. I interupted the conversation to say Hi and Freddie said hi and wished me good luck. Dangerfield was not as cordial as he said to me "Hey kid get lost" I felt like shit after that and bombed on stage.When I went back to the bar Freddie came over to me with some other guy as he was leaving and told me to believe in my stuff and the audience will beleive it too. I never forgot that. I never saw him perform after that as he went off to do Chico. I was supposed to catch his act in Chicago at Mr Kelly's one time but could not get there. Then I heard the news one day like everyone else and I felt it. I really wished that we could have hung out together as I was a south bronx kid as well and really could have related and to this day I truly believe that if we were friends (not like all the phony so called friends out there) maybe we would be watching the THE LATE SHOW WITH FREDDIE PRINZE today. I took the last 4 years off from writing and performing to follow my sons high school football career. I am ready to get back into it again as you can see by my website. I am bulding it slowly so I do it right as I have a ton of stuff and idea's.
Behind the Mic. ....Tonight Only Freddie Prinze
These were all taken in August 1975 at the Michigan State Fair in Detroit Michigan. I was 16 at the time and a big fan of Freddie. My friend and I wanted to go see him so my friends dad bought us tickets to see him. I didn't even have to pay him back for mine. I feel very fortunate to be able to see him but what really came as a surprise was how close our seats was to the front. We got on the front row. Freddie was so good lookin'. We were both in shock the whole time. He put on a grat song and dance part then he did his comedy routine. I don't know if you have the record he released but it was the same. Very Funny!!! ( I have the record too) At the end he did a song and dance number and was on the side of the stage right in front of us. When we were leaving we started talking to a security guard. We asked him to get Freddie's autograph for us and mail it to us. To our surprise he went and got his autograph and gave it to us there on the spot. He couldn't let us go backstage to meet him though. I wish he had!!!. That was one of my most memorable experiences from when I was a teenager. I will never forget it.
Click on the play botton above and below to watch Freddie on his HBO Special
Thanks for the compliments. Now, I am going to compliment you.
The tribute you have created for Freddie is wonderful! I only had enough time to check out some of it but will get around to more. I was especially appreciative at listening to his appearance before the President, which I never heard.
The routine about sending an astronaut to the moon was one of the bits we worked on together, so it brought back fond memories of Freddie. He was a special talent, but, more so for me personally, he was a dear friend, like a kid brothers. I've missed him very much all these many years. I know he would have loved the site you did and would have written you. Just think of this email as coming in part from Freddie. I wish you lots of laughter.
A look back at the most versatile and talented actor comedian ever! Remembering the legendary Hungarican Freddie Prinze