FORTY YEARS AGO today (1973), nineteen-year-old Freddie Prinze became the first Latino comedian to appear on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” The audience loved the Puerto Rican comic, as did Carson, who invited Prinze to join him — a rarity for a comedian making a first appearance on the show. Nine months later, Prinze debuted with Jack Albertson on the sitcom “Chico and the Man”; soon he was headlining shows in Las Vegas, recording a comedy album, and guest hosting “The Tonight Show.” Prinze was just twenty-two years old when he shot and killed himself in 1977.

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