Clipped From Journal and Courier
Chicof Star Brassy Teen By PENNY P. ANDERSON Gannett News Service Freddie Prinze badly needed sun. He sat on the veranda of the Beverly Hills Hotel, the palor of too many nights spent in nightclubs, too many days in dim hotel rooms, clinging limply to his cheeks. "All this attention is a big change for'tae," he said in his stacatto speech. "But I'm loving every minute of it." At 19, he's a year and a half out of the ghetto and bright beyond his years. He's been on the nightclub circuit for the past year, pointing his ethnic barbs at audiences across the country. It was that humor which took him to the "Jack Paar Show," to the "Merv Griffin Show," and ultimately to five "Tonight Show" appearances. It was the latter that brought him to the attention of "Chico and the Man" producers. Prinze will play a young chicano hired by a gruff aging garage operator portrayed by Jack Albertson. Born ' of Puerto Rican and Hungarian heritage, Prinze says he understands the character and the chaos of the chicano. "I have always considered myself Puerto Rican." He also says he's been playacting since he was a tot. "I was this fat, ugly kid who felt I had to be funny to get acceptance. I'd wander into my parents room in the middle of the night with the old Ed Sullivan routine. 'Well, here it is morning, and we've got a really big shew for you!'" ' His routine wasn't so funny at 3 a.m., but it accomplished his objective. "People noticed me." His wit was further honed, he said, by the conditions which surrounded him in a slum section bordering Harlem. "If you were going to survive on the streets, you had to be either tough or funny. I was funny." While he was attending New York's High School for the Performing Arts, Prinze joined an improvisational theatre. Were it not for his success on the club stage, he might never have received his sheepskin. "I was working nights and trying to go to school during the day. Often I had to miss my first class in the morning. Unfortunately, it was economics. When it came "time to graduate, they wouldn't give me my diploma because I'd missed so many classes." Last year, Prinze returned to the Performing Arts High to participate in a fund-raising benefit. "It was then that the principal realized I'd never graduated. So he gave my my diploma. They'll probably say that I graduated from their school but I didn't, not really. I don't begrudge them their gesture I guess I under-stand it."