The tv classic Happy Days was already on the air for many years in the late 1970s.
The show was an absolute triumph and catapulted star Henry Winkler from the show’s occasional actor to a household name.
The shift in dynamic was not so fun for the rest of the cast.
Ron Howard said that ‘Happy Days’ felt like a boy band at one point.
Actor Ron Howard, who played the principal character of teenager Richie Cunningham, was the heart of “Happy Days” from the beginning.
The film, set in Milwaukee in the 1950s, focused on Richie, his friends and family.
The series did well and had moderately good ratings until, apparently overnight, Henry Winkler and his character Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli became popular.
In 2006, Howard told the American Television Archive that his biggest objection to the creators of the show was that they decided to change the series’ name to Fonzie’s Happy Days. In the end, after Howard made his objection known, the show’s name remained Happy Days.
“The show shifted [to Fonzie]and I continued to have great roles,”The show shifted [to Fonzie]and I kept on getting great roles. “The fantastic thing was that it was a wonderful ensemble, we always treated it as an ensemble.”
Ron Howard was upset by Fizzie’s popularity, Marion Ross said.
The bittersweet memory of Winkler’s sudden success was remembered in her memoir, My Days: Happy and Otherwise, by the actress Marion Ross, who played Richie’s mother, Marion Cunningham.
All the actors on the show benefited, but they felt like unknown actors in the shadow of the Fonzie star at the same time.
“The fact that Henry had risen to become the breakthrough star of the series made the rest of us feel like we were just supporting actors,” she wrote.
Ross described seeing Howard and the discouragement that showed on his face in her dressing room.
‘Happy Days’: Ron Howard sent the show’s producers an ultimatum about his co-star Henry Winkler
“I’ll never forget the day when, even though the show was ahead in the ratings, a dejected Ron Howard walked into my dressing room and dropped into a chair,” Ross wrote.
The actress finally got it from her on-screen son that he felt a “Fonzie overload.”
“It’s all about the Fonz,” he said to Ross. Every fucking day, the Fonz is this and the Fonz is that.
Besides him, there are other individuals involved in this show, you know!’
Ross noticed that Howard’s feelings were about the character of Fonzie, not Winkler, who “never acted like he was the star or like he was better than everybody else.” she said.
Howard and Winkler continue to be good friends,
“Henry Winkler and I were sort of brothers, and he was like a big brother to me in many ways. We worked well together, and [Happy Days] became a big hit.”Henry Winkler and I were sort of brothers, and in many ways he was like a big brother to me. We worked well together, and [Happy Days] became a big hit.
Winkler, for his part, agreed with Howard, telling the American Television Archive in 2006, ‘[Howard] is my brother today. [Winkler’s wife Stacy] and I are his children’s godparents.
‘[Howard] said,’ Heaven forbid, take them if anything happens to [Howard’s wife Sheryl] and me. If you like, you can take them to a bar mitzvah.
Only take them.