Family & Companions
Freddie Prinze Jr. had a promising start in show business with a run of successful teen-oriented films in the late 1990s, however once he aged out of young adult horror and romantic comedies the actor struggled to find his footing. The son of the late 1970s comedian and sitcom actor, Freddy Prinze, his namesake son would set similar onscreen goals when he had his auspicious start in the "I Know What You Did Last Summer" franchise (1997, 1998), and the high school comedy hit, "She's All That" (1999). While his heartthrob looks were enough to interest the teenybopper set for a few years, Prinze's forays into drama and thrillers generally showcased a handsome but bland performer. Following a failed attempt to custom-tailor his own vehicle with the ABC sitcom "Freddie" (ABC, 2005-06), Prinze was known mainly for portraying cartoon character Fred in the live action adaptations of "Scooby-Doo" (2002, 2004) and for his marriage to action heroine Sarah Michelle Gellar. Despite his career hurdles, Prinze, Jr. proved the apple had not fallen far from the tree by continuing the performing legacy of his iconic father with an utterly likeable onscreen persona in a variety of both comedic and dramatic roles.
Prinze, Jr. was born March 8, 1976, the son of Freddie Prinze - Hispanic star of the popular 1970s sitcom, "Chico and the Man" (NBC, 1974-78), who was a trailblazer for stand-up comics, particularly Hispanic comedians. Following the tragic and shocking suicide of his father at the peak of his fame when Prinze, Jr. was only 10 months old, he was raised far from the Hollywood lifestyle in Albuquerque, NM by his bereaved mother, Kathy Cochran, and spent summers with his grandparents in Puerto Rico. After graduating from high school and faced with his family's increasing financial hardships and limited opportunities in his hometown, he chose to follow in his father's footsteps and pursue a career in show business. In L.A., the slight, handsome 18-year-old landed his first acting job with four lines on an episode of "Family Matters" (ABC, 1989-1997; CBS, 1997-98). The same year, he took the lead in the ABC Afterschool Special "Too Soon for Jeff" (1996), in which he portrayed a high school senior faced with the responsibility of a pregnant girlfriend (Jessica Alba). That same year, Prinze made his film debut in a relatively small role as Claire Danes' boyfriend in "To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday," proving to have a pleasant, easygoing screen manner. The TV movie "Detention: Siege at Johnson High" (ABC, 1997) cast Prinze as a misfit student-turned-hero in the high school hostage drama starring Rick Schroeder.
Prinze's beginner's luck showed no signs of wearing off, with the actor giving an endearing turn as the awkward, none-too-bright brother to Parker Posey's highly eccentric Jackie-O in the sharp indie, "The House of Yes" (1997). His big breakthrough came with his casting as the token poor kid in the wildly successful teen horror flick, "I Know What You Did Last Summer" (1997). The summer blockbuster resulted in teen idol status for Prinze, and he wisely banked on it in the following year's "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" (1998). From the back-to-back screamers, Prinze had an opportunity to stretch his acting muscles in "VIG" (Cinemax, 1998), playing a charismatic, up-and-coming wise guy. He was back in front of rabid teen fans in "She's All That" (1999), where his leading role as big man on campus was offset with enough sensitivity to keep the female fans swooning. He followed with a heroic role in "Wing Commander" (1999), a forgettable sci-fi adventure based on a computer game.
The actor's subsequent string of similar and youth-oriented romantic comedies - "Down to You," (2000), "Boys and Girls" (2000), "Head Over Heels" (2001) and "Summer Catch" (2001) - sought to cash in on Prinze's fading status as a short-term heartthrob, but did little to showcase an actor with a major career ahead of him. Aside from a guest spot as Ross and Rachel's sensitive male nanny on "Friends" (NBC, 1995-2005) and a relationship with the high-profile actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, the actor's early heat seemed to cool. Gellar and Prinze were married in 2002 and shortly thereafter, the pair joined frequent co-star Matthew Lillard in "Scooby Doo" (2003), the popular live action version of the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon that found a dyed blond Prinze playing amateur investigator, Fred. The mystery-solving gang returned for the 2004 sequel, "Scooby Doo2: Monsters Unleashed" (2004), but relatively poor box office returns nipped Prinze's potential return as a leading man in the bud. Following guest appearances on "Boston Legal" (ABC, 2004-09) and "Robot Chicken" (Cartoon Network, 2004- ), ABC contracted the treading talent to follow in his father's footsteps and star in his own sitcom.
In "Freddie" (ABC, 2005-06), which Prinze developed using material from his own upbringing, he starred as a young chef striving to gain independence from his family of strong women, both Caucasian and Hispanic. Upstaged by surprisingly deft comic support from Brian Austin Green of "Beverly Hills, 90210" (Fox, 1990-2000) fame, the comparatively wooden star obviously had not inherited the family sitcom charisma, and the low-rated show was cancelled during its first season. Resuming his screen career, Prinze starred in the 2007 release, "Brooklyn Rules," as an Italian- American young adult struggling to keep on the straight and narrow in the face of temptation to join organized crime. He made a valiant effort to portray a streetwise charmer in the clichéd film, following it up with a voice-over role alongside Gellar in the animated flop, "Happily N' Ever After" (2007). The animated "Delgo" (2007) was an even worse financial and critical failure, after which Prinze was well cast as a bored thirty-something executive whose life is shaken up by a fiery young spirit (Taryn Manning) in the indie romantic comedy, "Jack and Jill vs. the World" (2008). Taking another stab at series television, Prinze was cast in the eighth season of Fox's taut action series "24" (Fox, 2001-2010) as a former marine and aspiring Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) wannabe. He followed that with story arcs on the short-lived fantasy "Witches of East End" (Lifetime 2013) and the comic-tinged crime procedural "Bones" (Fox 2005-2015) before taking on another voice role in the animated science fiction series "Star Wars Rebels" (Disney 2014- ). In November 2014, Prinze revealed that he had undergone extensive spinal surgery, tweeting photos of himself in a cervical collar and detailing his physical therapy regimen.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
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Cast (TV Mini-Series)
His father committed suicide (January 29) when Freddie was 10 months old
Moved with mother from Los Angeles to Albuquerque when he was four years old
TV debut on an episode of "Family Matters" (ABC) as a troubled teen who brings a gun to school
Feature debut in "To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday"
First lead role in the "ABC Afterschool Special," as a teenaged father in 'Too Soon for Jeff'
Featured in Mark Waters' "The House of Yes" as Parker Posey's brother
Co-starred as Jennifer Love Hewitt's boyfriend in the teen horror film, "I Know What You Did Last Summer"
Reprised role in the teen thriller sequel "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer"
Played a popular high school jock in the hit teen comedy "She's All That"
Co-starred with Julia Stiles in the romantic comedy "Down to You"
Played opposite Monica Potter in "Head Over Heels"
Guest starred on the NBC comedy "Friends" as Sandy, Emma's sensitive Male Nanny
Co-starred with wife Sarah Michelle Gellar in the comedy "Scooby Doo"; based on the popular cartoon series
Guest starred on ABC's "Boston Legal" as Donny Crane, the son of William Shatner's Denny Crane
Reprised role of Fred for the sequel, "Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed"
Co-created and starred in the short-lived ABC sitcom, "Freddie"
Played a con man who successfully scams his way into the pre-law program at Columbia University in "Brooklyn Rules"
Will join the eighth season of "24" (FOX) as a new CTU operative