‘Happy Days’: Henry Winkler Described When He and Ron Howard Stumbled Upon ‘The Godfather Part II’ Filming

by Quentin Blount

Happy Days actor Henry Winkler has accomplished many great things in his life. But one of the most jaw-dropping moments came when he and Ron Howard stumbled upon the filming of The Godfather II.

Most fans of classic television shows remember Henry Winkler by another name. That name would be Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli. Winkler rose to fame playing the role of Fonzie on Happy Days from 1974 until 1984. In fact, he even won two Golden Globe Awards and three Emmy Award nominations while playing the part.

After becoming a breakout star, Winkler went on to make appearances in several other high-profile TV shows and movies. We have seen him in popular shows such as Arrested Development, Children’s Hospital, Parks and Recreation. And on the big screen, he’s played memorable parts in films like Scream, The Waterboy, Holes, and Click.

With all of that experience and success, we can assume that the Happy Days star has had plenty of awe-inspiring moments in his life. However, in an interview with The Guardian, Winkler recalled one moment specifically that left him speechless as a young actor.

“One day, Ron Howard and I saw Robert De Niro and Francis Ford Coppola filming,” the now-75-year-old recalled. “It turned out The Godfather Part II was being shot in our studio, too. As young actors, our mouths dropped open.”

Of course, The Godfather Part II is a 1974 crime film starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, among others. It’s the second installment in The Godfather trilogy.

Turns out that even stars themselves can be starstruck.

‘Happy Days’ Stars Confront the Success of Fonzie

Happy Days took off and quickly became one of the most iconic sitcoms in television history. But all of that success didn’t come without a little bit of surprise.

The writers of the show had originally planned for Winkler’s Fonzie to be just a sidekick in the life of Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard). Meanwhile, that entire idea began to change as Winkler’s character began to take the spotlight.

There’s no doubt that “The Fonz” quickly grew into a fan-favorite character. And in a 2019 interview with fellow actor Alec Baldwin on Inside the Actors Studio, Winkler discussed his character’s success and how he and Howard had to confront the new arc of the show.

“My feelings were hurt, but it’s good for the show,” Howard allegedly said to Winkler.

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