Hey, hey, it’s the Monkees! Two actors from television’s “The Monkees” auditioned for role of Fonzie. Unfortunately, both Micky Dolenz (on the left) and Michael Nesmith (on the right) were deemed too tall for the roll. All the other main cast members were much shorter than the 6′ Dolenz and the 6’1″ Nesmith (for comparison, the guy in the middle, Davy Jones, was 5’3″) so the search continued. For the record, Henry Winkler is 5’6″.
While the character Fonzie loved motorcycles, the actor who played him, Henry Winkler, was not so thrilled about them. In fact, he was terrified. That’s why most of the scenes in which we see Fonzie riding a motorcycle were actually filmed with the bike strapped to a platform that was pulled by a truck, giving us the illusion of the bike in motion.
Sylvester Stallone was Henry Winkler’s inspiration when he started working on the mannerisms and speech for Fonzie. Luckily, Winkler and Stallone had worked together just a few years earlier in The Lords of Flatbush. That said, Winkler categorically refused to comb his hair on camera or roll a pack of cigarettes in his t-shirt sleeve like Stallone… and he kept his word for the duration of the series.