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Freddie Prinze Jr.: 1976—: Actor

First Leading Role

Prinze became a bona-fide leading man in 1999 with his role in She's All That, in which he portrayed a high school sports star who makes a bet to turn an ugly-duckling classmate into a prom queen. Although some critics noted that the movie was downright sexist in its premise—as Prinze's character only started to care for his classmate after she underwent a beauty makeover—the chemistry between Prinze and his co-star, Rachel Leigh Cook, helped the movie to earn respectable box-office figures. She's All That was the first of a series of teen-oriented films that starred Prinze, including Down to You with Julia Stiles and Boys and Girls with Claire Forlani, both released in 2000. The films were not major successes, but Prinze emerged from each one with a stronger profile in Hollywood. As Newsweek noted of his starring role as the nerd, Ryan, in Boys and Girls, "Prinze's turn as the repressed Ryan solidifies his pinup status: the camera lingers lovingly on his bare chest, not costar Claire Forlani's, during the sex scene."

Regarded as the star of teen films, Prinze broadened his range in 2001 with the movies Head Over Heels, in which he portrayed an F.B.I. agent, and Summer Catch, in which he starred as a young pitcher trying to make it to the major leagues. With his role in Summer Catch, Prinze felt that he was finally coming into his own as an actor. As he revealed in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, playing pitcher Ryan Dunne was almost a form of therapy through the emotional release it provided. "He was so different from me," Prinze explained, "Dunne was an emotional firecracker, exploding when things went wrong. He just burned with energy. Personally, when things upset me, I get quiet and closed off. I have nothing to say, and a chill sets in while I think about what's going on." Prinze followed the intense experience of Summer Catch with a decidedly lighter role in a guest appearance on the television sit-com Friends as a sensitive male nanny hired to take care of the newborn daughter of Ross Geller and Rachael Green.

Prinze's rise to leading roles and Hollywood success was not all he had to celebrate. He is also basking in the glow of his recent marriage to Sarah Michelle Gellar. Gellar, was successful in her own right as the title character in the cult television hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Although the two young actors hit it off while filming I Know What You Did Last Summer, it was not until three years later that they began dating. Gellar and Prinze moved in together in early 2002 and married on September 1 of that year in a ceremony held at a Mexican seaside resort. The couple granted exclusive media rights to People, to cover the ceremony which duly reported the details of the lavish, yet intimate, occasion. "We will make great parents," Prinze reflected on his new marriage in an accompanying interview, "Because we had great role models who raised us."

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Jan Peck Biography - Personal to David Randall (1972–) Biography - PersonalFreddie Prinze Jr.: 1976—: Actor Biography - Pursued Acting Career After High School, First Leading Role, Starred In Scooby-doo