‘Happy Days’ Star Henry Winkler Reveals the Fonz’s Favorite Passion Was a Lie

by Josh Lanier

Did you know Henry Winkler loved to make ceramics? Surprising, right? Winkler was especially shocked to find out because he’d never touched clay in his life. A magazine included his “love” of pottery as part of a “The Fonz at Home” feature.

Jimmy Kimmel unearthed the magazine when he had the Happy Days star on his late-night show in 2019. Along with several photos of Henry Winkler lounging around his Hollywood apartment and doing chores, was this inexplicable feature about his dedication to crafting ceramics. Kimmel asked him what he loved most about the hobby.

“Yes, OK, so this was a lie,” he said, as Kimmel giggles. “This is my very first photoshoot with ABC. They said, ‘You gotta do something. You gotta be active.’ So, they put me in front of a (pottery) wheel. … I have never touched clay in my life. But didn’t I look good?”

Henry Winkler ripped off another Band-Aid when he admitted that he’d never made his “favorite recipes” listed in that magazine. He didn’t cook. Though, he does love those foods — pot roasts, potato pancakes, and chocolate mousse. He just doesn’t know how to make them.

Henry Winkler did have a hobby that helped shape The Fonzie character. Though it led to one of the most infamous moments in television history.

Winkler loved to water ski. He told showrunner Garry Marshall about this hobby, and Happy Days writers worked it into an episode where Arthur Fonzarelli jumps a shark. Critics use the term “jump the shark” now to mark the moment a TV series begins to decline in quality in reference to that scene.

Henry Winkler Helped Create ‘MacGyver’

When Happy Days ended in 1984, Henry Winkler said he couldn’t find work as an actor. He struggled for eight years to get jobs despite being one of the biggest TV stars in the world.

He turned his attentions to producing shows in the 1980s. And he helped create one of the biggest shows of that decade.

“When Happy Days finished, ABC said if I brought then a show I liked and it appealed to them, they would put it straight on to television,” Winkler told Jonathan Alter. “They gave me an office and an assistant. And the first show that I brought to ABC (with my partner at the time) was MacGyver.

“But as an actor, I went from the mountaintop—55,000 letters a week— and slid right into the valley for the next eight, nine years. I started to produce because I couldn’t get hired as an actor from 1983 all the way to 1991.”

Producers and casting agents couldn’t see past The Fonz, he said.

“My agent would put me out there and people would say, ‘You know, he’s great, he’s a wonderful guy, really good actor. Funny, So funny. But he was the Fonz.’”