‘Happy Days’ Star Henry Winkler Once Revealed Shortest Person to Audition for the Show

by Michael Freeman

Almost as fun as watching a show is learning the background information and trivia concerning it. On that note, Happy Days star Henry Winkler once revealed who the shortest person to audition for the show was and it might surprise you.

Appearing on The Mike Douglas Show in 1974, much of the Happy Days cast appeared to talk about numerous things. At one point, Henry Winkler spoke about things he used to do as a child. Instead of studying like his dad wanted, he would choreograph West Side Story in his room. Upon hearing that, Douglas asked him if he was the shortest person to try out for Happy Days. Winkler confirmed the question, saying he was both the shortest and last to try out.

“I was the shortest person, I was the last one, one of the last people to try out for the part,” Winkler stated. “And they called me up and I had contemporarily long hair, a little stubble, and I walked in there was a bank of 12 people and two wonderful ladies.”

Thinking both his stature and overall appearance weren’t what the producers were looking for, he wasn’t confident he’d get the role. “They said ‘would you read?’ and I said ‘Yeah, but I don’t think I’m who you want.’ Cuz you know, they want a big stalker, you know?” Nevertheless, when it came time to read, his “inner Fonzie” came out and he made the person across from him sit down. They called him back the next day to offer him the part and the rest is history.

Personally, I think his height added to the character. Henry Winkler’s Fonzie wasn’t a stereotypical giant that looked like a bully and it really grounded him.

Henry Winkler Revealed He Would Have Been Scared of a Real-Life Fonz as a Kid

It seems like Henry Winkler played a perfect Fonzie on Happy Days. However, his off-screen demeanor differs greatly from his character’s. In fact, he revealed he would have been frightened of a real-life Fonz as a child.

In the same interview on The Mike Douglas Show, Douglas commented how Winkler seems very different from his on-screen persona. Winkler chuckled and said “I hope so” before delving a little more into the Fonz. According to him, if he had seen someone resembling the Fonz in real life as a child, he would have been scared.

“Actually when I was younger, in the 50s I was 13,” he told Douglas. “And if a black leather jacket walked by and said, ‘Hey, where you goin’?’ I’d say, ‘Actually, I’m blind. I was just looking for the door.'” His costars, as well as the audience, seemed to like this answer, both laughing and applauding it.