If you haven’t heard of Henry Winkler’s “The Fonz” from “Happy Days,” you’ve probably been living under a rock. “Fonzie” is one of the most beloved characters of all time and the ongoing memorabilia auctions continue to prove just that. The thing is, Winkler almost lost out on The Fonz to a drummer in a made-for-TV band known as The Monkees all those years ago.
After bagging the role anyway and shooting to success with the 70s sitcom, apparently, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Winkler recently joined a news segment to reflect on his talks with Ron Howard over The Fonz’s popularity. This is what he had to say.
Henry Winkler Says He and Ron Howard Talked About Anxiety Over the Growing Popularity of ‘The Fonz’ Only Once
In sitting down with WGN News, Henry Winkler revealed a lot about his personal aspirations. He recounts being inspired by a ballet performance in middle school, for example. Apparently, this performance led him to teach himself a “bastardized version” of dancing, later seen with The Fonz.
Winkler also revealed that he and Ron Howard only talked about anxiety over the growing popularity of The Fonz once. The talk took place after visiting the famous Dude Ranch where Winkler’s character rode a bucking bull. While riding home, Winkler asked Howard to share his genuine thoughts about their success three years in. Apparently, this is what Howard said:
“Look, I was hired as the star of the show. You didn’t do anything other than just be yourself and the tide shifted. It hurt my feelings, but you are my very good friend. It’s good for the show.” And that was that. They never brought it up again.
Catch his full segment here:
Building A Well-Rounded Career
Henry Winkler has openly talked about his own struggles with coming to terms with the popularity of The Fonz as well. Apparently, the role has even cost him some other acting credits over the years. Turns out, Winkler also struggled with a potential learning disability throughout his career. Most likely dyslexia, the star often worried that he didn’t deserve the worldwide praise he got on the daily and he even felt like a “fraud” at times.
The good news is that he seems to be on the other side of those struggles now. He actually earned a Bachelor’s degree from Emerson College, which he talks about in the clip above. He also holds a Master’s degree from the Yale School of Drama as well as an honorary Ph.D. in Hebrew Literature from Emerson.
Now, he’s also a children’s book author and continues to expand his acting range with new series like HBO’s “Barry” alongside Bill Hader while also juggling a co-star role in the new Wes Anderson flick, “The French Dispatch.”