“Happy Days” Star Regrets Not Taking “Grease” Role To Chris Wallace

(RoyalPatriot.com )- Henry Winkler, who portrayed The Fonz on Happy Days, agreed with Chris Wallace of CNN in an interview that was aired yesterday that he was a “damn fool” for declining the role of Danny Zuko in the movie Grease. John Travolta was ultimately cast.

From 1974 until 1984, Winkler portrayed the enduring sitcom character Arthur Fonzarelli on the television sitcom Happy Days.

When Winkler was approached for the part, he remembered thinking that he had already done the Fonz, “I’m not going to do it again.”  He now says he should have kept quiet and enjoyed making the movie. At the time of its premiere, Grease was the highest-grossing musical movie ever, propelling Travolta to fame.

According to the book Grease Is the Word: Exploring a Cultural Phenomenon, Travolta had his eye on the Danny role for a while.

In the stage production of Grease, Travolta performed the minor part of Doddy. He wasn’t old enough to play Danny at that point. He initially desired for the Grease movie to capture the edginess of the stage production, but he later realized the film would do better at the box office if it avoided controversy. It’s questionable whether Travolta was correct, given that the 1970s gave us contentious box office successes like The Exorcist, Deep Throat, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

Because of Travolta’s inclusion in the movie, the script changed to accommodate him. The producers decided to emphasize Danny and Sandy’s love story rather than focus on the ensemble nature of the theatrical musical. The commercial success of the adjustments is evidenced by Box Office Mojo’s assertion that Grease grossed $159 million against a $6 million budget.

Does Winkler still harbor grudges against Travolta in light of Grease’s commercial success? Winkler claimed they had gotten along well and had known one another when Winkler first started performing on television. He claimed that despite no conflict, the media attempted to portray the two as jealous enemies. Winkler said that Travolta was a “wonderful, lovely man.”