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Henry Winkler Shares How He Saved a Suicidal Fonzie Fan on Set of ‘Happy Days’

That day, he became the real-life Fonzie.

Henry Winkler revealed that he saved a fan from suicide when he was on the set of “Happy Days.” The Fonzie fan was on a ledge and about to take his own life when police called the actor for help. An Illinois State Trooper called for Winkler for this very dire situation.

Winkler, who hadn’t thought about this situation in years, recalled it while appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Fonzie was always rescuing the “Happy Days” crew, and the actor actually stepped up and did it in real life for this distraught fan. (Related: Robin Williams’ Son Speaks Out About His Death)

Suicidal Teen Fonzie Fan Was About To Jump When Winkler Stopped Him

“He said, ‘I have a 17-year-old kid on a ledge and he is threatening to jump off and he will only talk to you,’” Winkler told Jimmy Kimmel. “I don’t know where I got the nerve to take the phone and start talking to this kid.”

The fan’s name was John. He wasn’t having much luck as an aspiring actor so he was ready to throw in the towel and take his own life. The Arthur Fonzarelli actor just wanted to get the desperate fan to think about anything other than taking his own life. He quickly came up with a way to distract John.

“So you’re 17, you haven’t made it yet. OK, let me ask you a question,” Winkler said to the suicidal fan. “Do you collect records? Do you have a record collection?’ Because at that time they were vinyl. I said, ‘Do you have a record collection?’ He said yes. I said, ‘OK, before you jump John, will you just will them to me? Do me a favor. If you get off the ledge, let’s talk about acting.’”

After John got off the ledge, Winkler explained that he didn’t get the Fonzie role until he was 27, so John should keep at it for 10 more years. Giving up because your career didn’t pan out at age 17 isn’t the way to go. (Related: Anthony Bourdain’s Wife Posts Touching Tribute On What Would Have Been His 63rd Birthday)

Fonzie Was One of the Most Popular Characters of the 1970s

“Happy Days” was one of the most popular television shows of the 1970s and early 80s. Fonzie was a fan favorite. He was cool, tough, and a great friend who came to rescue of the Cunningham teens and their friends. In this case, the Fonzie actor came to the rescue of a real life teen and saved his life.

Henry Winkler recounts this story and the infamous “Jumping The Shark” episode in the video below.

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