‘Happy Days’: One Star Explained Why ‘Being Exposed to Fonzie’ Was ‘So Liberating’

by Clayton Edwards
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There’s something special about Happy Days. The cast and crew of the show truly captured lightning in a bottle. It ran for eleven seasons and helped to mold the face of television. At the same time, the show launched some actors to fame, altering the landscape of Hollywood as well. It’s no secret that a huge part of the show’s appeal was Fonzie. More specifically, it was watching this tough-as-nails greaser interact with his seemingly square friends. Over the course of the series’ run, Fonzie became close with Richie Cunningham. Behind the scenes, the actors who portrayed those characters, Henry Winkler and Ron Howard, also became close.

In fact, the Happy Days stars are still close today. Henry Winkler sees Ron Howard as a brother. Their on-screen chemistry came from their real-life chemistry. Winkler and Howard spoke to Closer Weekly about their time on the show, working together, and their friendship.

Happy Days Stars Talk About the Classic Sitcom

During the interview, Ron Howard said that being exposed to Fonzie was liberating for Richie. Richie was just an everyday Joe with his own moral compass and virtues. At the same time, he had plenty of fear and anxiety. By hanging out with The Fonz, he was able to absorb some of his confidence. Fonzie could learn things from Richie as well. So, the give and take between the characters helped to build their on-screen relationship. They had so much to learn from one another. Their unique bond helped to fuel the popularity of Happy Days.

However, it wasn’t just their on-screen dynamic that benefitted from their differences. Off-screen the Happy Days stars are much different as well. For instance, Winkler is nearly ten years older than Howard. At the same time, their backgrounds are very different. In the interview, Ron Howard says that Henry Winkler was a Yale-educated actor. So, his approach to acting was different. Howard, on the other hand, had grown up in Hollywood. His parents were both in show business and he began acting at a young age. So, Ron Howard and Henry Winkler could learn just as much from one another as Richie and Fonzie could.

Interestingly, Henry Winkler says that Ron Howard was his teacher on-set. Even though Winkler graduated from Yale Drama School. He still had much to learn about working on television. So, Ron helped him fill in the gaps. Happy Days premiered over four decades ago. However, time hasn’t weakened the bond that Howard and Winkler formed on the show. At the same time, the time has not lessened the enjoyment that fans of the show get from watching the pair work together on-screen.

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