Henry Winkler Knows He’s A Damn Fool For Turning Down A Role In ‘Grease’

In our timeline, Grease heartthrob Danny Zuko is played by John Travolta. But in one of those multiverses that Marvel is always going on about, one-half of Rydell High’s second favorite couple (Rizzo and Kenickie are #1, obviously) is portrayed by Henry Winkler.

The Barry star appeared on this week’s episode of Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?, where he discussed his post-Happy Days career. “It was so bad that not only could I not find work,” he said, “but I was sitting at my desk at Paramount and I literally thought, am I ever going to find anything with as much impact as the Fonz? How will I know? Will anybody ever ask me? I’m not getting any offers.” Winkler did get an offer, however: the co-lead role alongside Olivia Newton-John in Grease. Which he turned down.

“Are you a damn fool?” Wallace asked him. Harsh but fair, considering Grease became the highest-grossing musical ever at the time. “Yes. I am,” Winkler agreed. “Because I only realized, oh, afterwards, years afterwards. I thought I played the Fonz, I don’t want to do it again. I’m going to submit. It has already happened. I’m already typecast. I should have just shut up and had a really good time making that movie.” He added:

“Now, I go home. I say no. And I have a Diet Coke. John Travolta goes home and has done the movie and buys a plane.”

Aw. Cheer up, buddy. You won an Emmy for Barry, and you did great work on Children’s Hospital, Arrested Development, and Parks and Recreation. Besides, maybe you don’t have plane money, but Travolta wants what you have (fish pics).

Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? is on HBO Max now, and airs on CNN on Sundays.