Henry Winkler on how Sylvester Stallone inspired the Fonz

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When portraying the Fonz on Happy Days, Henry Winkler would ask himself, “What would Sly do here?”

The Emmy winner used Sylvester Stallone, his co-star in 1974’s The Lords of Flatbush, as inspiration for his beloved sitcom character, a role he held through the show’s 10-year run. For the latest episode of PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing, Winkler demonstrated how he channeled Stallone into his portrayal.

“When I did the audition I just changed my voice a little bit, you know?,” he began, until he went full on Sly.

When Winkler finally won his Emmy for HBO’s Barry, Stallone congratulated his former co-star with a throwback tale of their time on The Lords of Flatbush, about a group of Brooklyn kids who form a tight-knit gang. “I vividly remember working with him on those cold streets in Brooklyn almost 47 years ago!!!” Stallone wrote. “He was a super talented class act then and even more of one now!!!”


“Sly Stallone stood on the street of Brooklyn,” Winkler previously told PeopleTV. “We would look at the crowd watching us film and he would say, ‘What are you looking at? I’m going to eat you for breakfast.’ I said, ‘You don’t want to do that, Sly. He’s probably really chewy.'”


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