‘Happy Days’ Star Henry Winkler and Tom Hanks Had a Decades-Long Feud

by Matthew Memrick

So, would you believe a decades-long feud between legendary stars Tom Hanks and “Happy Days” star Henry Winkler came from a 1989 film?

Sure, the two played alongside each other in a “Happy Days” episode from 1982. But, according to Rare, a movie called “Turner and Hooch” caused a rift that didn’t heal for 30 years. “Happy Days” actor and friend to both men Ron Howard confirmed the conflict between the men.

Both nice guys went onto long careers, with the 65-year-old Hanks winning Academy Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Winkler hasn’t done that bad with some Golden Globes, Primetime Emmy Awards, and Daytime Emmy Awards.

Winkler stars on the HBO show Barry, and if you turn on the TV, chances are you’ll stumble across a Hanks movie within minutes.

Did Hanks Get Winkler Booted From 1989 Film Production?

Ok, so both men were on the “Turner and Hooch” film with Hanks the star and Winkler the director. Hanks played Detective Scott Turner in the cop comedy-drama. Actors Mare Winningham, Craig T. Nelson, and Reginald VelJohnson also had roles in the movie.

Hanks got frustrated with Winkler and worked to oust the former “Happy Days” star. According to IMDb, Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg fired Winkler and was dissatisfied with Winkler’s work. Roger Spottiswoode took over. Consequently, Winkler told TV host Andy Cohen that he “got along great with that dog” in the movie. Winkler also said he didn’t remember the movie’s name being “Turner and Hooch” when he was involved.

According to The Independent, Ron Howard said he didn’t take sides in the conflict but hated how it played out.

“It was disappointing,” Howard said. “I’m friends with them both and both men felt compelled to come to talk to me about it. It was just one of those unfortunate things where they really had a working style that did not fit. I know it was painful for both of them and I was able to lend an ear, if not offer any solutions.”

Howard went on to say, “it’s been a lot of years, two men with a lot of water under the bridge.”

‘Happy Days’ Ahead For Hanks, Winkler?

As for the “Happy Days” episode, the two men starred together in “A Little Case of Revenge” in 1982.

According to IMDb, Winkler’s Fonzie must fight back against a black belt karate expert named Dwayne (Hanks). Since the third grade, Fonzie nursed a grudge against him (Dwayne was the only person who ever punched Fonzie) and now wants to take his revenge. 

TMZ found Winkler in 2020 and caught the actor saying that he made up with Hanks. The 76-year-old actor took it further, saying the men were pals and even went to a Bruno Mars concert together.