‘Happy Days’: Ron Howard Made One of His Co-Stars Godfather to His Hollywood Star Child

by Clayton Edwards
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One of the greatest relationships on “Happy Days” was the friendship between Richie Cunningham and The Fonz. Over the course of the show, Fonzie came to have a deep respect for Richie. When he moved in with the Cunningham family their bond got even stronger. It wasn’t just that they were close that made it so great to see. It was another way for the rough-around-the-edges Fonzie to show that he had a big heart. He cared deeply for the people close to him.

Their chemistry on “Happy Days” was so good because they were friends in real life. In fact, Ron Howard made Henry Winkler the godfather of his children including Hollywood star Bryce Dallas Howard.

The “Happy Days” Co-Stars Are Like Brothers

Henry Winkler spoke to the Television Academy Foundation about his relationship with his “Happy Days” co-star. When Ron Howard came up, Winkler was not shy about sharing his feelings. About Howard, he said, “He’s my brother today who I love with every fiber of my being,” before mentioning that he and his wife are the godparents of Howard’s children.

Winkler went on to say that his chemistry with Ron Howard was uncanny. He clarifies, saying, “I’m not kidding. It’s not hyperbole. I’m not romanticizing. I’m telling you the truth. This was amazing chemistry.” He also called Howard his mentor. Even though Winkler was ten years older than his “Happy Days” co-star, he looked up to him. Ron Howard was already a veteran actor. He had worked with some of the best folks in the television business. Instead of letting that go to his head, he used his experience to help Winkler in the early days of the show.

Henry Winkler was dyslexic. So, he found it hard to read the scripts. Early in the production of “Happy Days,” Winkler was having trouble with a script. In the interview, he says that he hit the script out of frustration. Seeing this, Ron Howard came and put his arm around Winkler and walked him to the back of the set. They had a quiet talk and Winkler calmed down, vowing to never hit the script again. It was moments like this, Winkler said, that showed him how much he could learn from the young actor.

He went on to say that when Ron Howard left “Happy Days,” he felt like his life was over. He knew he would never find another person with who he would connect like he did Ron. Luckily the duo stayed in touch through the years and they never let anything get in the way of their friendship.

It’s so cool to know that Fonzie and Richie are still close long after “Happy Days” ended.

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