Ron Howard, Henry Winkler Are ‘All Smiles’ In ‘Happy Days’ Reunion 50 Years After Hit Show Aired


Ron Howard and Henry Winkler enjoyed a surprise Happy Days reunion with their friendship and careers as strong as everRon Howard and Henry Winkler enjoyed a surprise Happy Days reunion with their friendship and careers as strong as ever

The epitome of cool and the All-American teen. Henry Winkler and Ron Howard were a fun, engaging duo to watch across over half a dozen seasons of Happy Days, which aired its last episode in the summer of 1984. Now, very nearly 40 years after the finale, both stars crossed paths again in Australia for a heartfelt reunion that made for a very happy day for both of them.

Winkler is still celebrating the release of his new memoir, Being Henry: The Fonz…and Beyond, which hit shelves last October. “Filled with profound heart, charm, and self-deprecating humor, Being Henry is a memoir about so much more than a life in Hollywood and the curse of stardom,” reads its synopsis online.

Ron Howard and Henry Winkler were nothing but smiles during their reunion down under

Howard and Winkler both found themselves in Sydney recently, Howard to finish post-production on his new film, Eden, which is due out later this year. But in the midst of that triumphant final leap, Howard took to Twitter to share another exciting update: this one, a blast from the past. “When I touched base with Henry, I discovered he was making an appearance here in support of his excellent best-selling memoir,” Howard shared.

Being Henry: The Fonz...and BeyondBeing Henry: The Fonz...and Beyond
Being Henry: The Fonz…and Beyond / Amazon

Howard went on to reveal, “We connected backstage and I watched him give a great speech to a huge crowd. What a blast!” The accompanying photo puts the final joyful touch on this reunion between Howard and Winkler, as the two TV friends stand arm-in-arm smiling like no time has passed at all since Richie and Fonzie were getting into mischief together.

Winkler was equally excited that Howard “came to my book event in Sydney Australia.” So far, his schedule overseas is set to continue through to February 19. During the autumn run of his tour, Winkler reflected on his childhood growing up in New York, his approach to acting, and life four decades after Happy Days – and it’s been an eventful one after the hit series ended, with credits spanning both television and film in just about every year since. His most recent credits in film are in Black Adam, while television has seen him in Quarterback and even doing voice work for Family Guy and The Legend of Vox Machina.

What is Ron Howard doing now?

When Henry Winkler and Ron Howard had their surprise Happy Days reunion, it was like no time had passed at allWhen Henry Winkler and Ron Howard had their surprise Happy Days reunion, it was like no time had passed at all
When Henry Winkler and Ron Howard had their surprise Happy Days reunion, it was like no time had passed at all / Everett Collection

It’s no surprise a reunion, even four decades later, between Henry Winkler and Ron Howard would play out so well today; the two synergized well together on-screen and that manifested in a friendship behind-the-scenes as well. In fact, when Happy Days producers wanted to rename the show to focus more on Fonzie, who soon gained more screentime than Richie, Winkler wanted no part of it and counted the move as a betrayal to the cast.

Winkler has also had nothing but high praise for Howard since the early days. “Ron, he’s an old soul. There’s a wisdom in him that is big,” Winkler once told TODAY. “Now Ron Howard was almost 10 years younger than I was. But Ron had been around the block a lot more times than me,” he also shared in his memoir. So, when Winkler, suffering from dyslexia, grew frustrated trying to read his script and punched the item, Howard kept a cool head, draped an arm over his shoulder, and talked Winkler down.

Like magic, Winkler revealed, “I went, ‘Ron, I’ll never do that again.’”

Richie and FonzieRichie and Fonzie
Richie and Fonzie / Everett Collection

Similar to Winkler, Howard has proven himself a powerhouse of thoughtful talent in front of and behind the camera. That’s because Howard has gotten his inspiration from a bit of everywhere, regardless of genre or industry.

“I had read Frank Capra’s autobiography, The Name Above the Title, which galvanized my passion to overcome all obstacles and become a filmmaker,” shared Howard. It was a definitive move at a formative time. “I was probably 17 when I read this book, and I’d been making short films and telling anyone who would listen that I wanted to be a director.”

“But,” he went on, “finishing that book, I not only began to be a student of Capra, but I really threw down the gauntlet and said, ‘I don’t hope to be a director. By God, I am going to be a filmmaker.’”

Going on to direct Frank Capra’s American Dream was a poignant career move, but ultimately far from the first in his directorial resume. It started in ’77 with Grand Theft Auto, which he also co-wrote with his father Rance, and continued with Night Shift, Cocoon, Willow, with several credits filling the subsequent decades. He’s the man behind the Jim Carrey-led How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Da Vinci Code starring Tom Hanks, along with the follow-up Angels and Demons and Inferno, and in addition to Eden, he’s also worked on The Shrinking of Treehorn for Netflix.

LADDIE: THE MAN BEHIND THE MOVIES, Ron Howard, director, 2017. © Laddie Movie / Courtesy Everett Collection

For every project Howard has touched as a director, almost the same number has won or been nominated for some award or another. So far, one of his most-nominated is Apollo 13, and his most decorated is A Beautiful Mind.

Looking back, there were some growing pains to becoming a director, both for Howard – including in the literal sense, having to figure out going underground to film the rescue drama Thirteen Lives – but also for those he was parting ways with on Happy Days. Fans bid farewell to Howard’s Richie after season seven for him to pursue directing in earnest, and Winkler in particular felt the sting of separation with painful clarity.

“I was completely thunderstruck,” Winkler writes in his memoir, “I was devastated, I was scared — you name it, I was feeling it. It was shocking.” But it is a testament to the strength of the friendship they built in those seven years that their friendship endured the whole time. “Fifty years of history,” Winkler remembers. “All in the same place, at the same time. It was palpable.”


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