As high school students across the country graduate, some choose to celebrate in different ways than others. For instance, one Milwaukee grad recently decided to involve former “Happy Days” actor Henry Winkler in her special day.
After posting a pic standing next to the iconic Fonzie statue on the Milwaukee riverfront, the recent grad never expected to get a shoutout from classic TV star. However, her graduation day got even better when the sitcom actor popped up in her Twitter replies.
“AYYYYYYY CONGRATS .. have the best life,” Winkler wrote to the lucky fan standing next to the state of the character that made him a household name.
You’re also in luck if you’re a “Happy Days” fan hoping to take a pic next to the bronze Fonz. It returned to its Riverwalk home in February after being gone for nearly 40-day absence. It needed some routine maintenance, but now the statue is back.
Created by artist Gerald P. Sawyer, the statue pays homage to Fonzie in the hit show “Happy Days.” The iconic sitcom was set in the 1950s and ’60s in Milwaukee and aired from 1974 to 1984.
Before its unveiling ceremony in 2008, one lucky fan and Milwaukee resident got the chance to drive the actor around the city. Carl “Little C” Sabourin once described the experience of being in the presence of The Fonz. “I hauled him around in 2008 in my ’51 Ford convertible, and he was one of the nicest persons I could ever meet,” Sabourin said.
Milwaukee resident calls ‘Happy Days’ star ‘one of the nicest persons I could ever meet’
According to Sabourin, he later received a thank you note from Winkler. “I got a beautiful letter two days later, saying how nice Milwaukee was and how nice the people were and how nice we were. We enjoyed it very much.”
At the time, Sabourin added that the statue is important because it reminds people of “Happy Days,” referencing the show and the literal 1950s. “Rock ‘n’ roll music and the ’50s, those were the good days and everybody loved the music, and everybody loved ‘Happy Days’… (Winkler) loved Milwaukee.”
As for Winkler, he’s still reminiscing about his time as The Fonz. Fans can even read about his experience in his new memoir, set to be released sometime in 2024.
The memoir, currently untitled, will seek to describe how the 76-year-old became a pop culture phenomenon in the 1970s thanks to his role as The Fonz “Happy Days” and has worked steadily ever since. His TV and movie credits include award-winning shows such as “Arrested Development” and “Parks and Recreation.” He also received an Emmy for his work on the HBO series “Barry.”
“I am both excited and nervous to contemplate writing a memoir because it’s hard to remember what happened the day before yesterday. But here I go!” Winkler said in a statement.
Before, Winkler worked on several books, including I’ve Never Met An Idiot On The River: Reflections on Family, Photography, Fly-Fishing, and the children’s series Here’s Hank” and “Alien Superstar.