‘Happy Days’: Anson Williams Told Stories of Singing at a Young Age in L.A. Clubs and Restaurants

by Quentin Blount
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One Happy Days actor actually got his start in the industry due to his singing background.

Anson Williams is perhaps best known for his role as the gullible singer Warren “Potsie” Weber on Happy Days. Williams held onto that role for all 11 seasons of the show which ran from 1974 until 1984. He was even nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. But not many fans know just how exactly the Potsie actor got his start.

According to the man himself, he began singing at an early age. He knew right away that singing was an important part of his life. Williams explained as much in a 2018 interview with Equality 365.

“It was there for a long time — even as a young person, but I just kept it quiet,” Williams said. “I really didn’t know what to do with it. It wasn’t part of my life, my arena, or my friends.”

The Happy Days star said that he started taking official singing lessons once he got out of high school. He also made an effort to practice his craft at various restaurants and clubs in the Los Angeles area.

“After high school, I had this urge to start singing,” he admitted. “I started taking singing lessons, and at the time, I bought sheet music. I would go to different clubs/restaurants around L.A., auditioning. Those types of clubs would let anyone sing, so that’s how I got better. They had a piano player, and I’d sing; sort of like an early karaoke. I went to Jack Kelly’s, The Little Club, Knickerbocker Hotel, and one thing led to another.”

‘Happy Days’ Star Recalls Auditioning for His Equity Card

The next step for Anson Williams was to become a member of the Actors’ Equity Association. The Happy Days star spoke about his audition during the Equality 365 interview.

“I finally heard about summer stock. It was under the Equity line first and then the non-equity line which anyone could stand in to audition. As I got closer in line, I kept hearing these big, wonderful voices, and I was ready to leave and call it quits. When my turn starts, I started to sing Mame. I got so nervous that all the words went south, so I made them up. (Maybe that’s how the comedy thing got started?) When I finished, I realized I got to sing more than the average four bars, and they didn’t stop me. They asked if I could dance. I said sure (but I can’t dance. I’m less than a bad dancer; I have no ability at all).”

“When they told me I had a Call Back, I had to ask what that was,” Williams recalled. “When I went back, they were doing this Bob Fosse-like routine, and I thought, ‘Are you kidding me?’ So I decided to do it for laughs. It worked, and they were hysterical. They asked me to wait, and I honestly thought they were going to tell me never to audition again! I got hired, and they said that if I did well, then I’d earn my Equity Card by the summer’s end.”

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