Henry Winkler Regrets Rejecting ‘Grease’. Offer for Danny Zuko2 min read
Henry Winkler is a television icon thanks to “Happy Days” and an Emmy Award winner thanks to “Barry,” but that doesn’t mean his hugely successful acting career is without regret. There’s one role that got away that still pains Winkler: Danny Zuko in “Grease.” In a recent interview with NEWS’s Chris Wallace, Winkler revealed he rejected an offer to play the “Grease” leading man, a role that would go on to make John Travolta a huge movie star. The “Grease” offer came in during a time of professional crisis for Winkler.
“It was so bad that not only could I not find work, but I was sitting at my desk at Paramount and I literally thought, ‘Am I ever going to find anything with as much impact as the Fonz?’” Winkler said. “How will I know? Will anybody ever ask me? I’m not getting any offers.”
Winkler was then offered the “Grease” role of Danny Zuko, but the character’s similarities to the Fonz made Winkler nervous about being typecast. Little did Winkler realize at the time that the Fonz was so iconic that he was going to be typecast no matter what, regardless of if he accepted “Grease” or not.
“Yes. I am,” Winkler said when Wallace asked if he’s a “damn fool” for rejecting the “Grease” role. “I only realized years afterwards…I thought, ‘I’ve played the Fonz. I don’t wanna do it again, but it’s already happened, I’m already typecast.”
“I should’ve just shut up and had a really good time making that movie,” Winkler continued. “Now, I go home, I say no, and I have a Diet Coke. John Travolta goes home, and has done the movie, and buys a plane.”
Winkler starred as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli on all 11 seasons of “Happy Days.” He currently stars opposite Bill Harder on HBO’s “Barry,” which will return for a fourth season at a later date.