‘Happy Days’: Potsie Actor Anson Williams Explained Why Henry Winkler Was ‘So Not the Fonz’

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

Happy Days was one of the most popular shows of its era, and there was no one as popular as Arthur Fonzarelli on that show. Henry Winkler made the character one of the most interesting tough guys on TV. But off-screen, Winkler was nothing like his on-screen counterpart, castmates said.

Anson Williams, who played Potsie said Winkler was the anti-Fonz. In a talk with Smashing Interviews, Williams said Winkler had no ego despite that being one of the most famous people on the planet.

Henry is the kindest, most decent person on earth. He’s so not the Fonz. He’s an intelligent, wonderful actor with an amazing heart and social conscience. You know, we could have had large egos. We had millions of people watching us every week and we were The Beatles for years, but it never went to our heads. We all used it constructively.

The cast is not only still in the business and contributing, but they’ve contributed to charities and back to society. All of that was inspired by Garry Marshall, the creator and our boss.

Anson Williams, Smashing Interviews

Winkler Agrees With Marshall

Winkler agreed, telling Fox News that he was able to stay grounded because of Marshall. Marshall made sure to stress the show’s success was a team effort, and anyone’s success was everyone’s success, he said.

“We were as a family and as a unit,” Winkler said. He added that Marshall once got angry with him for interrupting the producer as he spoke to the guest cast after a Happy Days taping.

Winkler has kept that humility throughout his career. Fox News was speaking with him last year because he was voted the second nicest person in Hollywood. Tom Hanks was No. 1. And Winkler has written dozens of popular children’s books, especially for kids who have dyslexia, like him, or may feel left out.

Henry Winkler on Why He Loves Acting

Henry Winkler would also agree he’s nothing like “The Fonz.” But having the chance to play someone who isn’t like him or try something new is why he loves acting. The Emerson and Yale graduate has worked consistently in TV and movies for 50 years, and he’s worked in dozens of genres. And being able to move into unfamiliar spaces is what he loves to do.

“I went to drama school and got a master’s degree. So I really wanted to be prepared. I really love my job. I am filled with gratitude that I get to do my job. The Fonz was as far from me as you could possibly be,” Winkler told PopEntertainment.com.

“I’m playing this tough Italian; I’m a short Jew. He rode a motorcycle, and I had trouble with a two-wheeler.  So that’s my job, is to create these people and make them come so to life that I’m having fun and you’re having fun watching.”