‘Happy Days’ actors Ron Howard and Henry Winkler greet Cindy Williams
Director-producer Ron Howard says he’s honored to comment on the life of fellow American Graffiti and Happy Days co-star Cindy Williams, who died Wednesday at the age of 75 because “she did it with a lot of integrity lived” and he “always respected her.”
The two-time Academy Award winner burst onto the big screen around the same time as Williams, who starred as his romantic counterpart in George Lucas’ 1973 coming-of-age drama American Graffiti and the popular 1970s sitcom Happy Days years was.
The Beautiful Mind director-producer told People magazine on Monday that he last saw Williams in Palm Springs last year after not seeing her for years. He said he was “just so struck by how her intelligence, energy and sense of humor… were still in overdrive.” He added that it’s “really a shock to think the spark is gone.”
The Apollo 13 director played high school senior Steve, and Williams played his girlfriend Laurie—his best friend Curt’s (Richard Dreyfuss) sister—in American Graffiti during their last hurray before the boys headed off to college up east. Set in Modesto in the summer of 1962, Lucas’ nostalgic film chronicles the rock ‘n’ roll and cruising cultures of the time and was nominated for five Academy Awards.
Howard said he had his first kissing scenes with Williams, who was between the ages of 24 and 18. He told People that they weren’t very romantic because Williams “knew she had this nervous kid on her hands and she had to deal with the situation.”
“And so she said, ‘This is how we have to kiss for the camera. Here’s what we need to do.’ She always had almost a big sister energy around me,” he said, adding that although they “had great acting chemistry,” she always treated him like a kid.
The couple worked together frequently over the course of five years before writer-director Garry Marshall hired Williams and his sister Penny Marshall to guest star on his popular 1950s sitcom Happy Days. The pair made a splash on a double date with Howard’s Richie and Henry Winkler’s Fonzie.
Her first arc in Season 3 on Happy Days led to guest appearances on the show and its ABC spin-off Laverne & Shirley, William’s most famous leading role in a career full of great roles.
Howard described Williams as “highly intelligent, very funny, very perceptive about the world around her”. He said she’s “very skeptical of glamor or the illusions surrounding our business” and that she’s never “fallen victim” and that “she’s really committed to creativity and I took note of that and tried to be myself.” to be inspired by it.”
Winkler, who played legendary biker Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, was among William’s notable Hollywood colleagues who paid their respects to the film and television star. In a series of tweets in response to William’s death, Winkler said so he was sad monday night
“My condolences for the loss of your incredible friend,” he tweeted in response to actor Michael McKean, who is the last surviving star of “Laverne & Shirley.” add to, “What a fine and talented person! REST IN PEACE.”
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2023-01-31/honored-ron-howard-salutes-happy-days-american-graffiti-co-star-cindy-williams ‘Happy Days’ actors Ron Howard and Henry Winkler greet Cindy Williams