Henry Winkler credits the role of Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli to an accent he made up on the fly during his “Happy Days” audition.
Winkler spoke to CNN’s Chris Wallace about her long career in Hollywood and revealed that, as a Jewish boy in Manhattan, she was surprised to be cast at age 27 as The Fonz, comedy’s unflappable, cool horseman. of Milwaukee’s “Happy Days” situation. .
Wallace asked Winkler how he transformed into the “epitome of awesomeness” on a new episode of “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?”
“Because I trained for many, many years to be an actor, and I got to play somebody. It wasn’t somebody I wanted to be,” Winkler replied, adding, “And it was really fun. They’re still my family. All of the people who survived are still very, very close. We’re incredibly kind.”
Winkler said the producers originally envisioned The Fonz as “a taller Italian kid.”
“And they knew, this short Jew from New York, but all I did Chris, all I did was change my voice,” Winkler recalled. “I introduced myself as Henry, and then when I started to do it, something just got over me… And I changed my voice like that and it just blew me away.”
Winkler said she just went along with it and in doing so became braver in acting while in real life she said she still felt like “a bowl of jello that hadn’t set yet.”
Noting that TV Guide ranked The Fonz as number four of the 50 greatest characters in television history to date, Winkler called the recognition “preposterous”.
New episodes of “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?” debuts Friday on HBO Max and Sunday on CNN at 7pm ET.