On “Happy Days,” there weren’t many moments when the Fonz lost his cool. But one of those was when the Lone Ranger showed up and introduced himself to Fonzie.
“Are you the one they call the Fonz?” the Lone Ranger asked after making his entrance. “I understand you’ve been wanting to meet me for a number of years. I’d like to say, it gives me great pleasure to meet a man who has patterned his life after mine.”
Then he extended his hand to Fonzie, who wouldn’t let go.
Watch the encounter here:
After ‘Happy Days,’ Henry Winkler Had to Endure Typecasting
Henry Winkler became famous for playing the Fonz on “Happy Days.” But there was a downside to fame. The actor found himself typecast as a cooler-than-thou greaser and unable to get different roles.
“It took me maybe eight years after the Fonz to really get a good acting role,” Winkler told NPR in 2019.
For a time after “Happy Days,” Winkler switched over to producing. He executive produced a lot of popular television content, from “MacGyver” and “Hollywood Squares” to the reunions of “Dynasty,” “Knots Landing” and “Happy Days.”
More recently, Winkler has found fulfillment and success as an actor, taking recurring roles in “Parks and Recreation” and “Arrested Development” and winning an Emmy for his portrayal of an acting coach on “Barry.”
“A lot of acting teachers, they talk about breaking bad habits, they talk about breaking you down, and I totally get that,” Winkler said of his philosophy on teaching acting. “But I’ve taught four classes in my life and I think you can get an actor to move off their position without making them feel like poop from a whale at the bottom of the ocean.”
Like the Fonz, Winkler Kept His Cool
“Happy Days” ran from 1974 to 1984. During that time, the show’s stars – and Winkler in particular – became global celebrities. But Winkler never developed an attitude or put on airs when he became famous.
There were only three television networks when “Happy Days” was on the air, so the audience for their show was much more concentrated. In a 2017 interview, Winkler’s co-star Anson Williams explained that as “Happy Days” hit its peak, Winkler became the top male television star in the world.
“Henry always, always kept his cool,” Williams said. “Never put it into anyone’s faces. Always collaborative, always a team player. But it was just quite remarkable to see the effect of that character. And believe me, that character was invented by Henry. He invented that character.”
Apparently, when it came to playing it cool, Winkler didn’t have to do much acting. He was naturally grounded.