‘Happy Days’: One Actor Competed with Anson Williams for Potsie, Ended Up Cast Elsewhere

by Katie Maloney

Can you guess which Happy Days star originally auditioned for the role of Potsie?

This actor, director, and singer starred on Happy Days for seven seasons before leaving to pursue more acting work. But he didn’t originally audition for the character he was cast as. In fact, he first auditioned for the role of Potsie.

If you guessed Donny Most, who played Ralph Malph on Happy Days, then you’re right. During an interview in 2007, Most talked about auditioning for Potsie and how he landed the role of Ralph Malph.

“The character, it was something that they didn’t – originally, I auditioned for a different role,” said Most. “The role of Potsie. But then, my agent called me and said, ‘You didn’t get that part, but they want to put you in the show, so they’re going to create a role for you.’ It was a small part in the pilot of this guy, Ralph Malph.”

Most added that the role was pretty small to start. He knew a few things about his character but it was up to him to develop the role from there.

“There wasn’t much more at that time except that they said he was a guy who was into cars, a little bit of a jock that was in a car club. From the dialogue, I could see that they had him as a little bit of a wise-cracking guy. And so I had to develop from that,” Most remembered.

Donny Most in Happy Days

Why Did Donny Most Leave ‘Happy Days’

Because his character started small, there was a lot of room for development. During the same interview, Most talked about how he teamed up with Happy Days director, Jerry Perris, to bring more life to the character.

“It was a back and forth process between what I was doing and then what the writers saw,” said Most. “Then Jerry Paris and I would come up with things that would not be in the script. But ideas that could go a little further with something, take it in a little different direction. Then Jerry would get an idea from that. So, soon we were giving the writers more raw material to work with and it kept growing as time went on. That was a great experience, a wonderful creative process.” 

However, after seven seasons, Most decided to leave Happy Days. But what motivated the actor to leave such a successful show?

“Eventually, I left the show after my seventh season, because I felt it had gone as far as it could have gone,” said Most. “And I felt that it was getting repetitive and there wasn’t a chance for it to grow as much. It’s hard for a show after five years to keep fresh, so it lost something I felt and it was starting to lose more and more. I felt it was time. And I was still only 27 at the time and I thought it was time to move on. I wanted to do a lot of other things as an actor and not just be playing one character.”