Feeling a bit old today? Imagine Henry Winkler of “Happy Days” sitting with his grandson watching himself play “Fonzie” on the ABC sitcom.
It actually happened and Winkler has a funny story about that very moment.
“We have five grandchildren,” Winkler said in a 2018 interview on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” “We have two girls, the youngest is 10 months old. The oldest is 8.”
‘Happy Days’ Star Gets Some Hair-Raising Revelation From Family Member
“That’s perfect,” Kimmel said. “That’s ‘Happy Days’ 8. Do they watch, have they seen you on ‘Happy Days’?”
“I did sit with Ace,” Winkler said. “Ace is 6. When he turned just about 5, we sat and we watched ‘Happy Days’ together. He looked at the screen, he looked at me, he looked at the screen, he looked at me, and he said, ‘Your hair is different.'”
“Well it’s a solid observation,” Kimmel said. “I’m telling you,” Winkler replies.
Indeed. Back when “Happy Days” was filmed, Winkler had a full head of dark hair. Nowadays, Fonzie’s once-neatly-combed mane is more silvery. But it’s probably pretty cool for Winkler’s grandchildren to watch their grandfather play an iconic TV role.
‘Mr. C’ Actor Said You Wouldn’t Have Considered Star For Key Role
When looking to cast “Happy Days,” putting someone in that Arthur Fonzarelli role was going to be a challenge. Tom Bosley, who played Howard Cunningham (or “Mr. C,” if you will), said considering Winkler for that role was truly an interesting choice.
“Henry was perfect for that role,” Bosley said in an interview with the Archive of American Television before he died in 2010. “I mean if you had interviewed Henry Winkler with his background you probably would have never even considered him for that role: highly-educated, comes from a good family, European background went to Yale (University Drama School).”
Bosley gave Winkler props for making some solid personal and career decisions once the series ended its run.
“He handled his success really wonderfully well and is an extremely charitable person,” Bosley said of Winkler. “He got married during the show and raised a stepson, and then had a couple of children of his own. And I think the wisest thing that he did when we were finished was he laid off acting for a while, and went into production and went into directing.”
“Happy Days” made Winkler a household name. Obviously, he was more than simply a hack actor filling a role. His background, though, gave him the experience to bring into a character that still gets people smiling today.