‘Happy Days’: Henry Winkler Revealed He Passed By His ‘Idol,’ But Couldn’t Get Courage to Say Hello

by Katie Maloney
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Even celebrities get starstruck. That’s what once happened to Happy Days icon, Henry Winkler.

Henry Winkler’s Arthur Fonzarelli or “The Fonz” was originally written as a secondary character on Happy Days. However, after the show’s premiere in 1974, he quickly surpassed the lead characters in popularity. So, he ended up as one of only two characters (along with Howard Cunningham) to appear in all 255 episodes of the show. Additionally, Fonzie became one of the most merchandised characters of the 70s. So, it’s hard to believe that an icon like Henry Winkler of Happy Days would get starstruck while walking past another celebrity. But he did. During an interview in 2017, Winkler talked about walking past his “idol” on a street in Beverly Hills.

“I don’t like motorcycles. After the shot, I always crashed. They gave the Fonz a Triumph — I found out it was the very one Steve McQueen, my idol, jumped the fence on in The Great Escape,” said Winkler. “I walked by McQueen once in Beverly Hills, and to this day it so irritates me that I didn’t have the wherewithal to stop him and say, ‘I really love you so much.'”

Henry Winkler of ‘Happy Days’ Said He ‘Has No Time To Get Old’

Henry Winkler has accomplished a lot in his lifetime. He’s worked as an actor, comedian, director, and producer. He’s won two Golden Globe awards and a Primetime Emmy award. And even at 75 years old, he hasn’t slowed down.

During the same interview, Winkler talked about all the adventures he went on for his reality show that aired from 2016-2018, Better Late Than Never.

“William Shatner, George Foreman, Terry Bradshaw, Jeff Dye, and I traveled for 40 days on a guy getaway for the new season of Better Late Than Never,” said Winkler. “We went to Morocco, parasailed in Spain, and picnicked in a nude Munich park. Then we visited Berlin, where my parents were from.” 

And during his adventures in show business, the Happy Days star has learned a lot. One lesson he’s learned is to never judge someone without first getting to know them. Actor Sylvester Stallone helped him learn that.

“Underneath everybody’s persona is a dear person,” said Winkler. “After Richard Gere left The Lords of Flatbush, I joined and met Sly Stallone. Talks like a tough guy, but he is so dry and funny.”

Winkler also developed his own theory about aging.

“But if you make a life that gives you joy, you have no time to get old.”

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