‘Happy Days’: Henry Winkler Theorized on Why People Loved Richie and Fonzie: ‘He’s My Brother’

by Keeli Parkey

There were many relationships on the beloved sitcom “Happy Days” that fans just loved. After all, it was a show about friendship and family and community.

But, maybe one relationship on the show stands out from the rest. And, this one is a real bromance.

Of course, we’re talking about the friendship between Richie Cunningham and Fonzie. Ron Howard played Richie on the famous show created by Garry Marshall. Fonzie was played by Henry Winkler.

So, why did the relationship between “The Fonz” and Richie Cunningham hit home with audiences? Well, Winkler has a theory. And, it’s a pretty good one when you think about it. In short, the two actors became like family – and this came through in their performances on “Happy Days.”

“I think people gravitate to the Fonzie/Richie their relationship, because Ron and I are 10 years apart,” Winkler told CloserWeekly.com in November 2019. “He was 18 and I was 27. We had a connection that you cannot describe in real life. And it was similar off-camera. He gave me my first mitt; I’d never played baseball before. He’s my brother.”

Howard also felt that what he and Winkler as their characters on “Happy Days” was “unique” on television.

“I think the dynamic of the on-screen relationship was great, because I was sort of the every man, with my own set of virtues, but plenty of fears and anxiety, and being exposed to the Fonzie character was so liberating,” Howard said. “Sort of a combination of what the two characters could give each other was pretty unique.”

‘Happy Days’ Actors Played Friends On Television, But Were Also Friends in Real Life

According to what Ron Howard also told CloserWeekly.com, the good relationship their characters shared on screen was easy to portray because he was actually good friends with Henry Winkler. And, Howard said he respected what Winkler brought to “Happy Days.” Unsurprisingly, Howard continued to have respect for Winkler after their respective tenures on the famous sitcom came to an end.

“We were fast friends from the beginning,” Howard reportedly said. “And it continues all these years later. It was exciting for me to work with Henry, because he was really a trained actor who attended Yale Drama School; just a trained New York actor.

“And I’d grown up sort of through the Hollywood television system, so for me to work with this guy who was so thoughtful, so creative and yet so hilarious, was really an opportunity for me to learn and grow and we just clicked, you know?”

It appears that Ron learned from Henry much like Richie learned from Fonzie. It’s funny how art often imitates life, isn’t it? Both actors went on to many other successful ventures during their respective careers. But, for so many television fans, they will also be the two parts of the Richie/Fonzie bromance.