‘Happy Days’ Star Henry Winkler Explained How He ‘Never Thought’ About Becoming an Actor

by Joe Rutland
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“Happy Days” star Henry Winkler said he really didn’t put much thought into being an actor because he always wanted to be one.

Winkler, who played The Fonz on the ABC hit sitcom, talks about that desire in a 2015 interview with the BBC.

“I mean I didn’t think about, ‘Oh why? Oh, how did that come into my body? In my mind?'” he said. “I just always had that as a dream.”

When the BBC interviewer brings up escapism, tying it to Winkler’s troubled childhood, the “Happy Days” actor said, “Yes, that might be exactly why” Winkler chose acting.

“Whatever the reason, I trained to be an actor and I now am living every day,” he said. “I’m 67 years old [when the interview was done]. I’m still working as an actor. I am living my dream every day. It’s amazing.”

‘Happy Days’ Saw Shift In Stardom From Ron Howard to Winkler

Winkler played Arthur Fonzarelli for 11 seasons. In the show’s first season, Fonzie wasn’t a featured player. “Happy Days” starred Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham. Slowly, though, producers and writers saw fans liking The Fonz more and more.

They started writing more to put Winkler in a leading-role type of spot, meaning more eyeballs were on him than other actors. “Fonzie-Mania,” if you will, reached such epic heights that “Happy Days” producers seriously thought about changing the show’s name.

That idea didn’t fly too well with Howard. When producers talked with him individually, he flatly told them that he didn’t sign up for this and would go back to film school. Show creator and producer Garry Marshall was outside the meeting door when Howard came out.

Show Creator Nixes Idea Over Renaming It With Fonzie’s Name

Marshall asked Howard about the meeting since he was not in there. Howard told him what he said and Marshall nixed any change of the show’s title. The idea would have been “Fonzie’s Happy Days.” Obviously, that didn’t happen.

Winkler would go on to appear in movies and other TV shows like “Arrested Development,” “Barry,” and “Parks and Recreation.” Among his movie credits are “Night Shift,” “The One and Only,” “The Waterboy,” “Scream,” and “The Lords of Flatbush.”

Howard left after 10 seasons, making a guest appearance in the 11th and final season. He did go on to pursue his first passion, directing. Howard has been behind the camera for films like “Splash,” “Cocoon,” “Willow,” “Apollo 13,” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

“Happy Days,” though, remains a connection between both men. It made Henry Winkler into a household name and gave him a career that’s lasted decades, too.

Classic TV fans can watch “Happy Days” in reruns as new generations learn about Richie, Fonzie, Mr. C, Mrs. C, Joanie, Potsie, and Ralph. Other costars included Tom Bosley, Marion Ross, Erin Moran, Anson Williams, and Don Most.

Outsider.com