Sometimes actors know right away who they don’t want to work with and that was the case with Happy Days. When the stars were auditioning Henry Winkler, who played Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, wanted an actor to get a specific part so someone else wouldn’t get it. The actor told the funny story and explained why he didn’t stay in the role.
Gavan O’Herlihy originally played Chuck on ‘Happy Days’
The first season of Happy Days showed the Cunningham family with three children instead of two. The oldest son was Chuck, who was originally played by Gaven O’Herligy.
It wasn’t long before O’Herligy left the show. He was then replaced by Randolph Roberts. Fans got to see Chuck be a basketball player in college. He eventually left to “go to college” but then never returned.
It turned out that fans saw Fonzie as an older brother figure. So the writers decided to get rid of Chuck altogether. But O’Herligy had a funny story about his audition process.
Henry Winkler told O’Herlihy to get the part so an ‘a**hole’ didn’t get it
O’Herlihy’s time on the sitcom was short. He explained to OnMilwaukee why he didn’t stick with the role.
“I hung around for the first half-season, then asked out of the contract. It wasn’t my cup of tea. It raised some eyebrows, but I’m glad I did,” O’Herlihy claimed. The actor then told a story about Winkler and auditioning for Chuck.
“I was there to audition, and sitting in a room with maybe eight others,” he wrote. “One of the eight began talking about how he had only been acting a month and here he was, all the way from Texas. Hallelujah. It was pissing a few of us off.”
He then claimed, “I caught the eye of one of the others who was called into the audition. Then I stepped into the hallway to get away from the Texan, when another actor had finished his audition and as he passed me in the hall, he grabbed me by the shirt and said, ‘get this goddam job. Don’t let that a**hole get it.’ I had to laugh. It was Winkler.”
So Winkler did get what he wanted. But sadly, O’Herlihy didn’t stick around for long because he wanted to pursue other things.
Winkler got his role for a strange reason
Winkler successfully got the role of Fonzie. But he had some competition.
Micky Dolenz, who was a member of The Monkees, auditioned for the part. But he wasn’t a great fit with the cast because he was 6’ tall, which is much taller than the other actors. Winkler, on the other hand, was 5 foot 6 inch.
The rest is history. He went on to wear the leather jacket and have his iconic hair style. He also avoided working with that other actor.
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