‘Happy Days’ Star Anson Williams Running for Mayor of California Town

by Caitlin Berard

From Clint Eastwood to Sonny Bono to Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s more common than one might think for a celebrity to become a politician later in their career. And it looks like the list is about to get a little bit longer, as Happy Days star Anson Williams has announced his candidacy for mayor of Ojai, California. Ojai, Williams’ hometown, is a small city in southern California, about 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

From 1974 to 1984, Anson Williams held the role of Potsie Weber on the classic TV series Happy Days. Though he has 45 years of experience in acting, the socially awkward yet endearing teen, Potsie, is by far his biggest role and most memorable character.

In a recent interview with Closer Weekly, Anson explained that he doesn’t really think of himself as an actor anymore. “Director, producer, writer, entrepreneur,” he explained, listing off his current projects. “Acting is pretty limited. I’m definitely more behind the camera now.” With a mayoral campaign on the horizon, he’ll have to add “politician” to the list!

‘Happy Days’ Star Anson Williams Explains Why the Series Almost Didn’t Air

Today, Happy Days holds a place in Hollywood history as one of the most iconic TV series of all time. Even someone who’s never seen the show can probably describe Fonzie, the infamous “jumping the shark” scene, and the toe-tapping theme song. As such, the idea that networks almost discarded it is unbelievable – but it happened.

In the early 70s, Anson Williams, Ron Howard, and many other Happy Days stars filmed the pilot episode. Unfortunately, television networks believed it would be a flop. As a result, they struggled to sell the idea. One short year later, however, ABC changed its mind, agreeing to buy the series with a few minor alterations.

“We did the pilot, but it didn’t sell,” Anson Williams explained. “But a year later, American Graffiti had come out, Grease was huge [on Broadway], and ABC decided to do it. They added important new characters like Fonzie and Ralph.”

Ron Howard was already a popular actor at the start of Happy Days. That was thanks to his time on The Andy Griffith Show. He was quickly replaced as the series’ shining star, however, when producers saw the impact of Danny Zuko and other “rough around the edges” characters of the time.

This caused a great deal of anxiety for Ron Howard, which was likely made worse when he almost didn’t get the role of Richie Cunningham. “Ron [Howard] and I had to screen-test again,” Williams recalled. “They were afraid we might be too old!”