For many of us, there is a person – or persons – who do and say things that inspire us. For “Happy Days” star Anson Williams, the person who inspired him was a man named Willie Turner.
Williams wrote about Turner in his book, “Singing To A Bulldog: From ‘Happy Days’ to Hollywood and the Unlikely Mentor Who Got Me There.”
During a 2014 interview with OnMilwaukee.com, the man who brought the character of Potsie Weber to life talked about his book and the impact Willie Turner had on his life.
“Without (Turner), I wouldn’t be here, talking to you right now,” Williams said in 2014.
So, who was Turner and how did he help this “Happy Days” star?
Turns out, Turner was Anson Williams’ boss when he was just a teenager.
“Willie was an African American man in his 50s. He was an alcoholic, illiterate janitor. When I was 15, I was an unfocused, unconfident kid. I knew everything I did wrong and nothing I did right. I was broken,” Williams recalled. “My family did not have any money and when I started to want things, I got a job as an assistant janitor at a Leonard’s Department Store in Burbank, California. Willie was my boss.”
‘Happy Days’ Star Anson Williams Said Willie Turner Shared Advice That Changed His Life
In 2014, Anson Williams said that after they were done working, Willie Turner would sit him down and share some words of wisdom. Williams wisely took those words to heart. And, they “changed” his life for the better.
“When I was done working, Willie would invite me to his ‘Dey Talk Room,’ a small janitorial space with a couple of rusty oil drums to sit on,” the “Happy Days” star said. “He would take out a flask and took the time to find out who I was and what I was good at. He said things to me like, ‘You special, boy. You’re gonna do something great in life.'”
Willie Turner also offered other advice that motivated Anson Williams.
“(Willie) told me, ‘You don’t look at the mountain, you climb the mountain.’ This changed my life,” Williams also said. “He gave me so many life lessons and they were amazingly important and timely for me. I never forgot them, or him.”
One of the reasons Williams wrote his book was to share Willie Turner’s motivational words with others.
“Through the book, I want the readers to have the same experience I did,” the “Happy Days” actor also said. “The chance to enter the ‘Dey Talk Room’ and discover how to find and climb their mountains.”