Henry Winkler reveals he rode same bike as Steve McQueen in ‘Happy Days’ only to crash it 17 seconds later
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Henry Winkler, best known for his role as Arthur ‘The Fonz’ Fonzarelli on the iconic sitcom ‘Happy Days’ recently opened up about a memorable incident on the show’s set involving his character’s beloved motorcycle. Reflecting on the past, the 77-year-old actor recounted the 17 seconds that led to a crash, shedding light on the chaotic moment that left everyone in a panic.
During an appearance on ‘The Jennifer Hudson Show’, Winkler candidly shared the details of the mishap. “I rode it really for 17 seconds, in the beginning, going up the hill. That was it,” he revealed. It was during a simple task of revving the motorcycle when Winkler’s dyslexia played a role in the unfortunate turn of events. He confessed, “And there was a moment . . . I was on the bike, and all I had to do was rev it and move it five feet. I revved it and [I’m] so dyslexic I had no idea where the brake was, where the gear was, and I shot forward.”
Henry Winkler’s motorcycle crash sends him under a truck
In a split second, Winkler found himself hurtling toward the director of photography on set before crashing the motorcycle. Recalling the incident, Winkler said, “He leaped out of the way,” adding, “I put the bike down. We slid under the truck on the soundstage, and they came running. Everybody was, like, in a panic that the bike was fine, because it was rented,” he said as the audience laughed.
‘Did I not lean on that bike like it was my bike?’
In a surprising revelation, he unveiled the secret behind ‘The Fonz’s’ smooth rides on the show, stating, “They put it on a board with four rubber wheels, attached it to a truck.” The actor laughed as he recollected the custom prop, jokingly adding, “Did I not lean on that bike like it was my bike?” Further adding to the motorcycle’s mystique, Winkler shared that it was the same one used by Steve McQueen in the film ‘The Great Escape.’ With a touch of humor, he remarked, “My tush and Steve McQueen hit the same seat!” It’s evident that despite the crash and the precautions taken on set, Winkler maintained his infectious sense of humor.
Reflecting on his journey, Winkler expressed gratitude for the role that changed his life. “I dreamt of doing this… I went to an audition for ‘Happy Days,’ and it changed my life,” he said. Remarkably, his Hollywood success story unfolded rapidly. After moving to Hollywood in 1973, he secured a role on ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ within five days. Two weeks later, he found himself as part of the ‘Happy Days’ cast. Winkler has previously shared that he would only consider a ‘Happy Days’ revival if the original cast members and the late Garry Marshall, the show’s creator and producer, were involved. “I wouldn’t want to do it without Ron [Howard], without Don [Most], without Anson [Williams] and without Marion [Ross],” Winkler told Fox News.