Henry Winkler Hilariously Thanks Man for Standing-In as Fonz Statue

by Jennifer Shea

Milwaukee’s River Walk features some scenic views and interesting sights, but perhaps none is so culturally noteworthy as the Bronze Fonz statue. Usually found just south of Wells Street, the bronze statue of Henry Winkler’s Fonzie character from Happy Days has been giving Milwaukee a double thumbs-up since 2008.

But the statue is exposed to the elements. And so occasionally it has to be taken in and polished. And when that happens, Winkler can count on his devoted fans to stand in – as he found out recently when a fan named Gino stationed himself on the River Walk in frigid temperatures to bid passersby “Ayyy!”.

“@hwinkler4real I want you to know while the #bronzefonz is being polished I’m keeping the spot warm,” Gino tweeted at Winkler, including a picture of himself standing on the spot giving a double thumbs-up. “I’ve been out here 7 hours and could really use a bathroom break but that’s how much you mean to me!”

“Thank you my friend!! You can ALWAYS count on Gino!!!!” Winkler tweeted in response.

Bronze Fonz Statue Depicts Henry Winkler as Fonzie

The statue is clad in a bronze replica of Fonzie’s leather jacket and blue jeans. And it stands at 5 feet 6 inches, just like Winkler. It’s intended to serve as a selfie spot. But there’s also lawn furniture around the statue so visitors can kick back and enjoy Fonzie in all his bronze glory.

Unfortunately, right now, the Bronze Fonz is at Vanguard Sculpture Services in Milwaukee for routine maintenance, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. It is going to be gone for two weeks, so Gino might want to go ahead and take that bathroom break already.

“The Bronze Fonz needed a break, so he hopped on his motorcycle and went to Leon’s for burgers and frozen custard,” Lindsey Mckee, a Visit Milwaukee spokesperson, told the Journal Sentinel in jest.

Visit Milwaukee and its supporters raised the $75,000 that the statue cost back in 2008. They are responsible for the statue’s presence on the River Walk. The Bronze Fonz was not without some initial controversy. The Milwaukee Art Museum’s director and two art gallery owners strongly opposed it. But it has since become a beloved fixture on the River Walk.

Winkler himself seems to have no problem with the statue. At least, not if his tweet is any guide. After all, what actor could object to making their breakout role a permanent feature of a city’s landscape?

Meanwhile, the Bronze Fonz will soon return to the spot where Gino stood. (We hope he has since left to warm up and get some refreshments.) It will be available for visitors to pose for selfies alongside just in time for spring.