The cast of “Happy Days” may have seemed like they were having a great time in the American sitcom series, but it was far from “Happy Days” for the show’s stars. This video will explore the behind-the-scenes friction which developed between the show’s actors. Make sure you stick to the end for the whole story, as you don’t want to miss hearing what occurred behind closed doors.
Set in the 1950s, Happy Days followed the hijinks of the Cunningham Family, as they attempted to navigate everyday life. Over the course of its time on air, the show welcomed many famous faces, including Robin Williams and Tom Hanks. Perhaps its biggest legacy, however, was assigning George Lucas to direct the series, who would later become most famous for the Star Wars saga.
Upon its debut in 1970, the U.S. sitcom proved a major hit with audiences, running for a total of 11 seasons. This not welcome news for the show’s cast, however, who secretly hated each other.
Marion Ross And Tom Bosley
Marion Ross, who played the mother Marion Cunningham, revealed on The Today Show in 2018 that she didn’t get along with her co-star Tom Bosley. If you think that’s not awkward enough, Bosley portrayed her on-screen husband Howard, making their falling out especially uncomfortable for the two stars. Marion has previously stated her belief that Tom Bosley had another actor in mind for the part, which fueled his dislike towards his on-screen wife.
A visit to Fox’s daytime show “Good Day New York” saw their relationship take a particularly sour note. According to Marion, Tom made it clear how much he disliked his co-star during their guest spot on the show. The actor called her various offensive names backstage, before proceeding to undermine her around the program’s production crew. Whenever Marion would attempt a conversation with these workers, Tom would swear and tell her that nobody cared. However, despite these backstage tensions, the pair eventually became firm friends.
Tom later apologised for his disappointing behavior towards his co-star, during a private event honouring Happy Days’ Howard for his achievements. In her memoirs, Marion recalls how the actor approached her at the event and told her that he did care about her opinions. The move touched Marion, who had just delivered a speech about Tom to her peers. Her on-screen husband clearly had a change of heart from their early days on the show, and luckily, he changed his attitude towards Marion Ross.
Tom Bosley sadly passed away in 2010, at the age of 83. Succumbing to lung cancer, Bosley’s passing is one of several tragic deaths from the Happy Days cast. His co-stars spoke fondly of Tom after the tragic news announced, as they recalled memories of working with the actor. Among those paying tribute was Marion Ross, who stated how he was “so smart he could fix the end of a joke or a scene on the spot.” She also added that they made “the perfect couple,” confirming the pair’s clear fondness for one another despite their friendship’s more shaky beginnings.
Scott Baio and Don Most
In 2020, a more recent feud emerged between the Happy Days cast after actors Henry Winkler and Ron Howard; who played Fonzie and Richie respectively. The pair confirmed plans for a reunion to raise money for the Wisconsin Democrats. This caused tensions to flare with Scott Baio; known for playing Chachi in the hit sitcom series, because he disagreed strongly with the political nature of the reunion special. Baio is a strong Trump supporter and Republican, which meant he opposed to fundraising for the democratic party. He believed that Ron Howard was conspiring to ‘use a classic show like Happy Days to promote an anti-American socialist,”. John Stamos offered to portray the role of Chachi in his absence, which Baio took further offense to.
Don Most, known for his role as Ralph in Happy Days, not impressed with Scott’s actions. Speaking to Fox News, the actor felt his co-star’s actions were “out of line”. And showed no consideration for his fellow cast members’ views. Don also mentioned that he used to play golf with Scott Baio. But claimed that due to the actor’s comments he likely won’t be doing so again. It’s clear that Scott’s words have deeply hurt his co-stars, and created wounds which are perhaps unlikely to heal.
Despite the controversy, the Happy Days reunion eventually made it to air. The one-off special made available to stream online on Sunday, October 25th via the Wisdems website. As expected, Scott Baio failed to appear, and so the reunion was missing one key cast member. When asked if he would be appearing during the online reunion. Scott told Fox News that he wouldn’t appearing as he didn’t “believe in socialism and marxists”. And commented how he found the event “a little bizarre.” He also aired his own theory, that John Stamos who had confirmed for the reunion show had “always” wanted to fulfil Baio’s role as Chachi. The event featured a number of surprise celebrity guests; including Josh Gad and Yara Shahidi, who filled in as Happy Days characters Howard and Joanie respectively.
The reunion involved the Happy Days cast reuniting over Zoom and doing a table read of a few episodes from the third season. Joined by the series’ writer Lowell Ganz as well as Howard’s daughter Paige. Fans overjoyed to see the cast together again. Scott Baio’s absence remained unnoticed, with many viewers praising John Stamos as his replacement. Baio later expressed his dislike of the reunion following the live stream; saying that entertainment “shouldn’t be political.” However he also claimed to “love” his co-stars in spite of his feud. Suggesting that all may not lost regarding his fellow castmates.
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Ron Howard And Henry Winkler
Ron Howard and Henry Winkler currently maintain a great friendship to this day; but their initial relationship was much more tense on the set of Happy Days. When Henry Winkler introduced in the show’s fifth season, he became an instant hit with viewers. This left Ron Howard seething with jealousy, who up to this point had been seen as the audience favorite. The fifth season opened with a three-part story entitled “Hollywood,” which saw Fonzie hit the big time in America’s movie capital. Fonzie’s journey actually mimics Henry Winkler’s rise to fame, who upon debuting in Happy Days, became a major star overnight.
Commenting to the Intelligencer Journal in 1977, Ron Howard admitted he was taken aback by his co-star’s sudden popularity. The actor felt that Henry’s success saw the writers centering many of the show’s narratives around Fonzie; whereas previously Howard reckoned that 75% of the stories had been centered around his character Richie. It was a stark change for Ron Howard, who suddenly found himself no longer the star of his own show.
Appearing on the BBC’s “Graham Norton Show”, Ron Howard claimed he “disrespected” by Happy Day’s network executives. The star slammed the execs for “poor interaction” in regards to a “business standpoint”. Added to this, he spoke candidly about how the press referred to him as a “second class citizen”. Which he did not believe to be the case. Ron’s point to the press and the executives was that Richie was supposed to be the lead. and that Henry Winkler as Fonzie had usurped him.
However, despite Howard’s reservations, the actor did admit that it was exciting to see the audience reaction towards Fonzie. Ron praised Henry Winkler’s performance to Graham Norton, which he called remarkable. He also credited his experience co-starring with Winkler as the life event that pushed him to chase his dream of becoming a movie director. Seeing first-hand how fickle the audience can be in regards to their favorite television stars; Howard realized how being an actor was a rather insecure profession; and decided to seek his first directing opportunity.
Thanks to the actors’ professional attitude, the rivalry between the two stars on Happy Days did not leave much of an impact behind the scenes. Henry Winkler commented to the Press Telegram that he felt the studio atmosphere was very relaxing. And that he liked his co-workers. With Ron Howard’s unhappiness not carrying into the show’s production, the pair were able to maintain an air of professionalism. Allowing the finished product to convey a much friendlier atmosphere on-screen. Today the pair now consider themselves friends; with the history between them all but evaporated over the years since their time on Happy Days.
Although Ron Howard left Happy Days before its final episode in 1984; he remained in contact with his co-star for many years since his final appearance in the sitcom. Most recently, Henry Winkler has been known to attend Ron’s birthday parties, proving that the animosity between them is over. In 2019 Henry fondly discussed his friendship with Ron on Fox News, where he discussed how the star gave him advice on dealing with his new-found fame on the set of Happy Days.
That concludes our video on Happy Days cast members who didn’t get along. Whose your favorite Happy Days cast member: Henry Winkler as the Fonz, or Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham? Let us know in the comments! And if you learned something new about the Happy Days cast in this video, don’t forget to hit the like button and subscribe for more Fact Verse videos.