‘Happy Days’: Anson Williams Explained How Henry Winkler ‘Kept His Cool’ During ‘Fonzie-mania’

by Jennifer Shea

“Happy Days” star Henry Winkler became a global celebrity during the show’s run from 1974 to 1984. But Winkler never let that stardom go to his head.

In fact, Winkler’s co-star Anson Williams said in a 2017 interview with Australia’s Studio 10 that Winkler remained remarkably grounded and humble throughout his time on the show. Williams said Winkler stayed cool despite a worldwide craze over his character.

Because there were only three television networks at the time, Williams explained, “there’d be an average of 58 million people a week watching our show. And that’s just in the United States.”

“Henry was, he became the number one star in the world,” Williams continued. “But Henry always, always kept his cool. Never put it into anyone’s faces. Always collaborative, always a team player. But it was just quite remarkable to see the effect of that character. And believe me, that character was invented by Henry. He invented that character.”

Watch Williams talk about Winkler here:

‘Happy Days’ Star Recently Weathered Backlash Over Fishing Post

Meanwhile, in his golden years, Winkler has apparently been spending more time fishing. And he recently drew some social media backlash for posting a picture of himself holding up a fish that he caught.

“I can’t even express the beauty everywhere on our planet,” Winkler posted – a pretty inoffensive statement in itself, but some people took exception to the image accompanying the tweet.

Respondents told Winkler he should have released the fish rather than photographing it, and “death to any animal is not beautiful.”

Others stuck up for Winkler, chiming in with their defenses of fishing. They pointed out that many people grow up fishing, and that humans are natural predators of fish. Plus, they added, fishing is fun.

For his part, Winkler tweeted, “I won’t eat a trout in a restaurant,” although he later deleted the tweet. The “Happy Days” actor is reportedly an avid outdoorsman who has really taken to fishing in Montana.

Winkler’s Love of Fishing Goes Way Back

As it happens, Winkler is an expert angler who carefully records the dimensions of every fish he catches, according to Forbes.

While Winkler is a native New Yorker, when he was growing up, his family had a summer house on Lake Mahopac, where Winkler learned to appreciate nature. And later on in his life, the dyslexic Winkler, who struggled in school, would derive considerable pride from his success at fly fishing.

Winkler started fishing in the 1980s after a friend taught him and his wife Stacey how to do it. Now he and Stacey go on fishing expeditions all the time, although they fish in separate waters (according to Forbes, Stacey complains that Winkler always strays into her fishing space.)

Winkler has even written a book, “I’ve Never Met an Idiot on the River,” that deals with fly-fishing, as well as photography and his family. The “Happy Days” star has seemingly found in nature the peace that Hollywood never offered.