'Happy Days' star Henry Winkler says Ron Howard’s ‘feelings were hurt’ by Fonzie’s success

Not everyone was digging The Fonz — at least initially.

Henry Winkler, who famously played Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli on “Happy Days,” claimed his co-star Ron Howard wasn’t initially thrilled his character quickly became a fan favorite.

Howard was the intended star of the series as Richie Cunningham thanks to his fan base from his time on “The Andy Griffith Show,” The Decider reported. However, there was no denying audiences were quickly taken by the leather-wearing greaser.

“I was supposed to be seven out of 13, which meant I was only supposed to be in seven out of the 13 shows each cycle,” said the 73-year-old during his appearance on “Inside the Actors Studio.” “And The Fonz was taking off.”

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Henry Winkler famously starred as The Fonz on "Happy Days."

Henry Winkler famously starred as The Fonz on "Happy Days." (Getty)

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Winkler recalled one time when Howard offered him a ride home to discuss the weighty topic.

“The fourth year, we went to a dude ranch and did a two-parter, riding wild bulls,” said Winkler. “I had to sit on a bull. Ron Howard drove me home in his VW, and I said, ‘Ron, tell me now. How are you feeling? We haven’t talked about this.’”

“He said, ‘You didn’t do one thing other than be good at what you’re doing,’” continued Winkler. “’My feelings were hurt, but it’s good for the show.’”

Still, Winkler insisted the duo never had a tense relationship on set.

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Ron Howard and Henry Winkler attend Fifth Annual American Cinematheque Awards on March 23, 1990, at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California.

Ron Howard and Henry Winkler attend Fifth Annual American Cinematheque Awards on March 23, 1990, at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

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“He was one of the most wonderful acting partners ever,” said Winkler. “We could do a scene — we could read it, rehearse it, memorize it and shoot it three times in 20 minutes. There was a thread between us that was amazing.”

“Happy Days” aired from 1974 until 1984. And while Winkler continues to keep busy as an actor, Howard, 65, is now celebrated as a sought-after filmmaker.

Back in 2017, Winkler told Fox News he hasn’t forgotten his time on “Happy Days,” the show that helped launch his pop culture icon status.

“We are very much like a family,” said Winkler at the time. “I love them, I talk to them, I email them, and I see them."

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Henry Winkler as Fonzie, circa 1975.

Henry Winkler as Fonzie, circa 1975. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

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What does Winkler think of TV shows these days, which some viewers have criticized for being too violent for families? He views it as entertainment, for grownups of course.

“There are TV shows today that are way better than feature films,” he said.