‘Happy Days’ Actress Once Addressed the ‘Tension’ Between Her Character and Fonzie

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Happy Days fans, did you ever notice there might’ve been some sexual tension between Mrs. Cunningham, Richie’s mom, and Fonzie.

After all, Mrs. C was the only one on the show who called Fonzie by Arthur, his given name.

Marion Ross, who played Marion Cunningham, was asked this question during a Q&A with Entertainment Weekly.

So, was there some chemistry between Mrs. C and Fonzie, Ross and Henry Winkler?

“Well, we just adored each other, that was all,” Ross told Entertainment Weekly in 2008. “[Henry Winkler] always made such a fuss over me. And it would fluster me so. The more flustered I would be, then the more he would do that to me. We’re very, very close friends. I just adore him.”

Then Ross mentioned a Fonzie statue in Milwaukee. Later that year, Milwaukee, the fictional home of Happy Days, put Fonzie in bronze. Winkler called it “unbelievable.” And most of the cast attended the dedication ceremony, including Ross, Winkler, Tom Bosley, Erin Moran, Anson Williams and Don Most. About the only major character missing was Ron Howard, aka Richie Cunningham. The Bronze Fonz statue stands near Milwaukee’s Riverwalk.

Happy Days writers played on the Fonzie/Mrs. C chemistry in a season three episode. It was called Dance Contest.

UNITED STATES – NOVEMBER 26: HAPPY DAYS – “Dance Contest” – Season Three – 11/26/75 Pilot for Laverne and Shirley. Henry Winkler and Marion Ross. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

Yes, On Happy Days, There Was Some Sizzle With Mrs. C and Fonzie

Here were the basics of the episode. Marion wanted to participate in a dance contest. But her husband, Howard, says no way. The kids think it’s a bad idea, too. So she asked Fonzie, who bought a suit for $18.50. However, Mrs. C didn’t tell anyone she was practicing her dance moves with Fonzie. You know what they say about keeping secrets. Howard Cunningham thought something was up with his wife, so he follows her and sees what’s happening with Fonzie. The whole family tries to track down Marion. But Fonzie says they want to dance, so they dance.

For this episode, Rance Howard, the real-life father of Ron/Richie Cunningham, guest stars. He played the dance contest announcer.

The dance episode wasn’t the only one on Happy Days where Marion shows off her moves. Two seasons later, we got to see Marion become a belly dancer. She called it her funniest moment on the show.

She said: “Well, I had a wonderful (scene) where I did a belly dance for Howard, to put some spunk back in the marriage. It is so funny. The writers said, ‘Marion comes down the stairs doing a belly dance.’ I thought, Did anybody ask me if I could do this?

Marion dressed in an orange and gold outfit to put some va-va-voom back in her marriage.

“I remember it as not being a good day at all,” Ross said of the scene. “When I see it, it looks very nice and easy. I had lines like, “Treat me rough… Treat me rough.” But when you put on that costume, that helps.”

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