Robin Williams was a comedic talent who will be remembered by his fans for generations. Working with him, according to Henry Winkler, was also unforgettable.
The man best known as “The Fonz” of course met Williams on the set of “Happy Days.” The iconic television show ran for 11 seasons, from 1974 to 1984, on ABC. According to an article on CheatSheet.com, Williams was hired for a guest part on the show in 1978.
When Williams arrived to work on that episode of “Happy Days,” Winkler was immediately impressed with him.
“You have to understand,” Winkler said in 2006, according to the article. “Usually, a guest star would be at the table on Monday to read the script for the first time and rehearse with us because you only have four and a half days. It’s now Wednesday, we don’t have anybody.”
Henry Winkler, Ron Howard Were Impressed with Robin Williams
Enter Robin Williams and Henry Winkler took notice. Winkler reportedly said he knew that he and the rest of the individuals working on the show were “in the presence of greatness.”
“Because — you know who he is now — imagine him raw,” said Winkler. “Whatever anybody said went in and came out with lightning speed. He was all over the place, he was like this firefly, fantastic. And then the rest was history.”
Henry Winkler wasn’t the only “Happy Days” star who was impressed with what Williams brought to the table.
“Garry [Marshall] really fought for the show,” Howard said, according to the article. “And then we had another problem. We couldn’t cast the alien, Mork from Ork.”
“Suddenly, our casting director comes strutting in,” Howard also said. “We were rehearsing the show. He came in, beaming, saying, ‘I’ve got our guy.’ And following him was Robin Williams, a guy that no one knew. I certainly didn’t recognize him.
“It was the most exhilarating thing because it was hilarious,” Howard continued. “We realized it was all we could do to hang on. That became our job that week, was to just keep up with Robin Williams. It was something I will never forget.”
His appearance on “Happy Days” soon led to Williams being cast on “Mork & Mindy.” Pam Dawber was his co-star in that popular series.
Winkler Cast as “The Fonz” Thanks to One Physical Trait
It’s difficult to imagine anyone other than Henry Winkler played “The Fonz” on “Happy Days.” However, he wasn’t the only actor considered for the part. Micky Dolenz, a Hollywood star and member of the popular band The Monkees, also auditioned to be Fonzie.
Luckily for Winkler – and fans of “Happy Days” – the show’s producer Garry Marshall thought Dolenz was too tall to play the part. He reportedly wanted all the actors in the cast to be of similar height. Since Dolenz was six feet tall, they decided to cast Winkler because he is shorter.