Ron Howard says he got ‘disrespect’ by ‘Happy Days’ execs

The days weren’t so happy once the Fonz arrived.

Ron Howard’s role as Richie Cunningham on the ABC series “Happy Days” solidified a place for him in Hollywood. However, the filmmaker recently claimed that network executives treated him poorly once Henry Winkler’s character Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli rose in fame.

Howard, 67, appeared on Britain’s “The Graham Norton Show” on Friday and looked back on his time making the 1970s sitcom.

“We immediately bonded and became great friends,” the “A Beautiful Mind” director said of his relationship with Winkler, 76. “We were a fantastic ensemble — we all got along great.”

He then revealed that the “the studio heads” and “network heads” started “really treating me with a lot of disrespect from a business standpoint, just in terms of interaction.”

“The press kept saying, ‘What’s it like? Do you feel that you’ve become a second-class citizen on your own show?’ and these kinds of things,” Howard added. “Which I didn’t feel within the workspace. And I certainly didn’t feel it within our friendship, which endures to this day.”

happy days show
Henry Winkler and Ron Howard as Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli and Richie Cunningham, respectively.
©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Col

Despite the playful rivalry, Winkler and Howard stayed besties after “Happy Days.” Winkler is even the godfather to all four of Howard’s children.

The “French Dispatch” star recently told Insider that fans still saw him as the Fonz and he was getting rejected from portraying comedy roles.

“People would say, ‘Wow, he’s funny. He’s such a good actor. But he was The Fonz,’” Winkler said. “And so they would pass me by. You have to learn to find the strength in yourself to deal with that, reinvent yourself, move on.”

Long after “Happy Days” ended in 1984, Winkler later scored roles on TV comedies such as “Parks and Recreation,” “Arrested Development” and “Barry.”

“If you’re supposed to have it, you will have it. If you’re supposed to get a role, it will come to you. I tried, it didn’t. Sometimes it did,” he added. “If I look back from the time I arrived in Hollywood on the 18th of September 1973, I’ve had a most amazing career.”

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