Although not a real person, for all those tv viewers of the 1970s, Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli, aka Fonzie was a definite influence on pop culture.
A fictional character portrayed by actor Henry Winkler in the successful tv series Happy Days, Fonzie first appeared in 1974 when the sitcom debuted on ABC.
Producer/writer Bob Brunner created Fonzie, a mechanic who is initially a temporary character. But his appearances made him a series regular who then became known for his phrases – like “sit on it” – and the sound eh which he uses as a comment with different inflections in all kinds of situations.
Fonzie becomes the older mentor to the Happy Days characters, and family members of his are soon introduced to the cast, integrating the older set and the younger set.
He uses his past experiences as a gang member to advise his friends and hopefully help them steer clear of the mistakes he made, and becomes a favourite of Mrs. Cunningham.
He’s also well-known as a ladies’ man, who is always attractive to women and uses Arnold’s Drive-In’s washroom as his office for mentoring his buddies Richie, Ralph, Potsie and Chachi and approve or disapprove whatever is going on with a snap of his fingers.
His signature style, the slick hair, white tshirt, jeans and boots became a pop culture influence as well as his sayings. He soon became imitated off screen as well as was integral to the success of the series, which ran from 10 years.
As a young child of the 1970s, Fonzie was the older character who seemed cool and had the answer to everything. Don’t we all wish we had someone like that with us now.