‘Happy Days’ Stars Anson Williams, Donny Most and Henry Winkler Reflected on the Show’s Popularity

by Caitlin Berard

Though the series finale of the classic TV show Happy Days aired in mid-1984, the teen stars of the sitcom are still each other’s biggest fans. Spending a decade together allowed the group of on-screen friends to form real-life bonds that would last a lifetime.

Then in their 60s (now in their 70s), Anson Williams, Henry Winkler, and Don Most sat down with People in 2015 to discuss their time on the hit sitcom and their lasting friendships. The interviewer commented that a lot of people don’t understand just how big Happy Days was in the 70s and 80s, and all three stars agreed.

“It was huge,” Anson Williams, the actor behind Potsie Weber, explained. “Something like 50% of all American TVs were tuned to us. No one gets numbers like that anymore. When I directed episodes of The Secret Life of the American Teenager, the stars were excited about 1 million viewers. And I was thinking, ‘We got 40 million each week!'”

“We were No. 1, and then Laverne and Shirley came on,” Don Most, the actor behind Ralph Malph, added. “And they were No. 1, and we’d go back and forth being the top show.” Anson Williams then chimed in once more, explaining that their popularity grew even further after Happy Days was syndicated.

The series is so iconic, in fact, that it remained a popular series even decades after it ended. “My daughters are 26 and 28, and their friends watched the show on Nick at Nite,” Don Most recalled.

Henry Winkler Remembers His Time on ‘Happy Days’ Fondly

When a 29-year-old Henry Winkler stepped onto the screen as Happy Days character, Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli, he took the nation by storm. Overnight, Henry Winkler became a teen heartthrob and a clear favorite among the many lovable characters.

The Fonz was such a popular character, in fact, that Henry Winkler’s meteoric rise to fame was a sensitive subject for his costar, Ron Howard. Ron played Richie Cunningham, the character around whom the show was originally going to be based.

When The Fonz undeniably stole the show, Howard was left feeling disrespected and anxious. He was so stressed about his character’s fall from the spotlight, in fact, that he once attributed his hair loss to the Fonz drama. Despite their career competition, Ron Howard and Henry Winkler have remained close friends over the years.

Following his days as The Fonz, beloved actor Henry Winkler went on star in many other big name projects and continues to act to this day. However, he maintains that Happy Days was something special.

“People still call me Fonzie,” Winkler said. “But they can call me anything, I don’t mind. As long as they’re with me! I’ve done a lot of other things, but I’m really proud of my time on Happy Days.”