During the successful television run of “Happy Days,” one of the breakout stars was the man who brought the beloved character Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli to life. That actor, of course, was Henry Winkler.
Thanks to the success of the beloved sitcom, Winkler went from an unknown actor to one of the most recognizable faces in the United States of America. Such a change has to be a shock for most people. And such a surprising rise to fame could change many people.
However, according to “Happy Days” actress Marion Ross, the quick rise to fame did not change her co-star Henry Winkler. Ross, who is now 93 years old, talked about Winkler and his rise to fame as “The Fonz” during a recent appearance on the Media Path Podcast. Ross, of course, played Marion Cunningham in the sitcom.
The topic of Winkler’s rise to fame came about after podcast host Fritz asked Ross about Winkler. It turns out that the podcast host also knows the man who played Fonzie. And, unsurprisingly, the host is also a fan of Winkler.
“You got to watch the ‘Fonz phenomenon’ happen. I mean, when he exploded. I’ll tell you, Weezy and I know (the Fonz actor Henry Winkler) and actually produced a pilot with him. And (we) got to go around town with him and watch the world react to him,” the podcast host said to Marion Ross. “And he is – I’ve met a lot of people in show business who are not this way – he is one of the most genuine, warm humans. It wasn’t even people’s reactions to him, it was the way he reacted to very gently and respectfully back to them. I have so much respect for him. Did you ever sense that before he became the huge star?”
Marino Ross Described Her ‘Happy Days’ Co-Star Henry Winkler as ‘A Lovely, Lovely Man’
The “Happy Days” actress responded by sharing how she feels about Winkler. “Oh, how lovely. I really did and I still do because he is a lovely, lovely man,” Ross said.
According to Ross, the quick rise to fame was a difficult experience for Henry Winkler. “It was hard for him because he was unknown when he came [to ‘Happy Days’]. Ron Howard had been a child actor all of his life. And all of a sudden, here comes Henry Winkler. And, um, he was always absolutely charming. (He handled the fame brought about by the show) beautifully and fitted in with all of us,” the actress also said.
As part of their effort to make Henry Winkler feel content during the production of “Happy Days,” the cast bestowed upon him an honor of sorts, according to Ross. “We had a softball team. And we got him to do all the pitching,” she said.
You can watch “Happy Days” star Marion Ross talk about how “absolutely charming” Henry Winkler was during the filming of the beloved sitcom below. Her comments begin around the 19:30 mark of the video.