‘Happy Days’: Ron Howard Revealed One Actor’s Background That Made Him ‘Excited’ to Work Together

by Will Shepard

When Happy Days first started rolling the camera, there were two very different people cast. Ron Howard was only 18 years old but was already a massive star in television. Henry Winkler, on the other hand, was relatively unknown at the time.

However, that would all change quickly. Winkler’s character, “Fonzie,” would become one of television’s most well-known characters. Thankfully, Howard was by his side to show him the ropes of stardom. But, more importantly, the two stars of Happy Days became fast friends.

The two reportedly became really close as the show progressed even though they were so different. Because the Happy Days characters were on-screen together so much, they developed an excellent chemistry. This also translated to a friendship away from the cameras.

Ron Howard and Henry Winkler Became Incredibly Close Because of “Happy Days”

In an interview with Closer Weekly from 2019, Ron Howard explains the friendship that the two had. He is thankful for Happy Days bringing the two together and fostering their relationship. The two came to the show with such different backgrounds, but it worked out beautifully.

“We were fast friends from the beginning. 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?”

Because the two Happy Days stars had begun life in such a different fashion, they were able to share a lot. For them, it meant being able to incorporate their backgrounds into their acting. The friendship continued to blossom. Not only were they teaching each other different acting styles, but also about life in general.

“I think people gravitate to the Fonzie/Richie relationship because Ron and I are 10 years apart. 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.”

These two Happy Days actors have the epitome of an excellent friendship. To be able to translate on-screen chemistry into a genuine friendship is an amazing thing.

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

No matter how the friendship began, the two are undoubtedly thankful for what they have. Hopefully, this will be a life-long relationship that outlasts the legacy of Happy Days.