Fonzie Says 'Aaay!': Facts And Stories Of Henry Winkler's 'Happy Days' Character

By | October 31, 2019

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Henry Winkler as the Fonz on 'Happy Days.' Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

On Happy Days, Fonzie's "Aaay" could mean just about anything. The one-word catchphrase uttered by Henry Winkler, who played the Fonz (Arthur Fonzarelli), expressed everything from humor to seriousness. Though it's not even really a word with an official spelling -- "Eyy" or "Eeey" or Ayy" -- it's the one-syllable line that viewers associate with the character and the show, which ran from 1974 to 1984. Fonzie was a perfect TV character, and despite the stereotypical early-'60s tough-guy facade, there was a lot more to him -- especially as the show went on and he became its center.

We Almost Didn’t Get Henry Winkler As The Fonz

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Dolenz Vs the Fonz (posthard)

Looking back, it’s impossible to think of any other actor playing the Fonz. Even today, it’s impossible to see Henry Winkler and not think “ayyy.” Unbelievably, the role of the unforgettable Fonz almost went to Micky Dolenz from the Monkees.

According to Dolenz, “It actually came down to me and Henry Winkler. We’re good friends and still laugh about it. I remember when Henry first walked into the interview. He saw me and said, 'Oh, crap, Micky Dolenz is here. I’ll never get it.' But I’m so glad he did because he was a much better Fonz than I would have been. He is the Fonz!”