Ron Howard and Henry Winkler’s relationship on Happy Days remains a classic, wholesome friendship between on-screen characters. However, it appears Ron Howard was so anxious about Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli’s popularity he lost his hair.
In his memoir, The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family, Ron Howard and his brother Clint Howard discuss a wide variety of topics. Something huge you may not know is him being scared Fonzie’s character would overshadow his. During the early Happy Days episodes, the fear became so pronounced he developed a skin condition and started losing his hair. Making matters worse, ABC even toyed with renaming the show Fonzie’s Happy Days.
“The biggest stressor of all was Fonzie. Not Henry [Winkler], but Fonzie,” Ron wrote. “It did not escape my notice that as the season went on, the Fonz was getting more and more screen time.” He goes on to describe his condition’s extent, one so severe he admits he should have seen a therapist.
“I didn’t handle my stress particularly well,” Ron Howard continued. “I probably would have benefited from seeing a psychotherapist…instead, I kept everything inside. Then I started breaking out in eczema rashes all over my body, most acutely on my eyelids…and my hair started thinning. Looking at the men on both sides of my family, I knew it was inevitable…but it started coming out in alarming clumps during this time.”
Luckily for Ron, the name change didn’t go through. Garry Marshall, the show’s creator, told Ron if he didn’t support the idea, the name would remain. Naturally, Ron did not, so the original name stuck. Ron Howard eventually overcame his issues and the two actors became lifelong friends.
Henry Winkly Adores Meeting Fans and Always Makes Time for Them
More than just a loveable character on-screen for Happy Days, Henry Winkler maintains that endearing personality in real life too. For instance, when it comes to fans, he adores them and always makes time to meet them.
Speaking to the Chicago Tribune, Winkler offers a warm, heartfelt take on meeting his fans. “I come there, most people sit behind the table and there’s a table between them and the fan,” Winkler said. “I stand on the other side of the table and meet people. Because if an actor says give me a half-hour or an hour of your time every week for multiple years, and then they come and say ‘Hello’ and you don’t meet them halfway, I think that is bad behavior.”
That’s not all, though. More than simply meeting them halfway, Henry Winkler enjoys hearing their stories. “The warmth I receive when people come up and say I watched Happy Days with my grandmother, it was the time my family had together,” he said. “Or ohmigosh, Scream or The Waterboy [or] Parks and Recreation, Arrested Development, Better Late Than Never, and now Barry, I cannot tell you how it crosses all the lines.”