During a 2019 late-night show appearance, Happy Days star Henry Winkler unexpectedly participated in a hilarious belly flop competition.
In August 2019, the Fonzie actor joined Jimmy Kimmel Live. He discussed his Happy Days role as the Fonz, talked about writing children’s books, and touched on winning an Emmy. However, towards the end of the interview, Kimmel abruptly asks Winkler if he’d like to jump in a water tank with a wetsuit.
“Hey, I know you like fishing, you love the water” Kimmel says to Winkler. “Would you be interested in belly flopping and being part of our belly flop competition?”
The crowd freaks out and encourages the Happy Days star to say yes. But Winkler’s not sold on the idea right away.
“You’re talking about tonight? Are you talking about in my suit?” Winkler asks.
“We’ll put you in a wetsuit. No, you don’t have to wear your suit. Something that you won’t ruin,” Kimmel responds.
After a little trepidation, Winkler nods his head and is all-in on the belly flop contest. Winkler hilariously steps up to the pool with a full snorkel and mask before removing it. The late-night show also requested that Winkler recreate his famous jump the shark scene from Happy Days. The actor obliged and said it would be the third time he’s jumped the shark.
Winkler doesn’t exactly jump the shark, but instead opts for a different tactic. He amusingly leans over the ledge until he falls in the pool and belly flops. The three judges gave him scores of 10, 10, and 11 for an “unprecedented 31” Kimmel joked.
“I am so proud,” Winkler somehow said with a straight face after his belly flop performance. “And I have done it for all short people in the world.”
‘Happy Days’ Icon Henry Winkler Beat Out Fellow Hollywood Legend for ‘Barry’ Role
While speaking to Jimmy Kimmel, Henry Winkler touched on his Emmy Award-winning performance on HBO‘s Barry. He also opened up about it earlier this year and revealed another Hollywood legend almost earned the role instead of him.
Barry came out in March 2018 and was met with critical acclaim. To date, fans only have two seasons of the dark comedy-crime series to watch since Covid-19 has delayed Season 3. As fans eagerly await the newest season, Winkler shared that the show could’ve looked very different with another famous actor in his place. It turns out, his Emmy-winning role could’ve been played by none other than John Lithgow.
“I never found out, but backstage at a John Lithgow play, he asked how I was doing. I said, ‘Better’ and that I had this part,” Winkler explained in a June 2021 interview. “He said, ‘Oh, you got it. I wanted that.’ Wow. Oh my God, that was the greatest thing. Wow, wow! I’ve seen him in everything on Broadway. And I’ve written him notes, his Churchill in The Crown was divine.”