‘The Wonder Years’: How Danica McKellar Beat a Family Member for The Role of Winnie Cooper

by Matthew Wilson

The Wonder Years” almost had a different McKeller sister as Winnie Cooper. Danica McKellar beat out her sister for the iconic role.

Both Danica and Crystal McKellar wanted to be actors. So, their parents allowed them to audition for guest roles. One of those roles was Winnie, which would become a love interest for Fred Savage’s Kevin. According to Cheatsheet, both sisters were only two years apart and auditioned at the same time.

Ultimately, Danica beat out her sister for the role. Initially, the role of Winnie was a guest spot on the show. But producers were impressed by Danica and her chemistry with Savage. They approached the McKellars about turning the guest spot into a featured starring role.

Danica McKellar Begged Her Parents to Stay on ‘The Wonder Years’

Danica said she had to beg her parents to stay on the show. Her parents had a rule that the sisters could only accept guest roles on TV series. They saw acting as more of a hobby and didn’t want their daughters to become obsessed with it. Danica’s parents preferred that she focused on her studies and school.

But after Danica begged them, they finally relented and let her star on the show. It would become one of the defining roles of her acting career.

“My mom said, ‘Listen, they’re offering for this to be a series regular. We have to think about this. This could really change your life and acting is supposed to just be a hobby,'” McKellar told ABC News. “I begged, like, ‘This is so much fun. I really want to do it!’ and she’s like, ‘OK, but I’m putting a loophole in the contract, we’re getting a really good lawyer, and if you ever want to get out you can.'”

As for Danica’s sister Crystal, she found her way onto “The Wonder Years” eventually as well. Crystal turned a memorable role, starting in Season 2 as Kevin’s nemesis Becky. The two became sworn enemies on the show for much of Kevin’s middle school years. Crystal recurred on the show for two seasons, last appearing before the characters went to high school.

Meanwhile, her sister Danica starred on the show for six seasons as Winnie.