Pat Morita, the Japanese-American actor who is best known to audiences as Arnold from
Happy Days and as Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid film series, died Thursday, November 24, in his home in Las Vegas. He was 73.
Pat Morita was born Noriyuki Morita on June 28, 1932, in Northern California to migrant farm workers. As an infant he developed spinal tuberculosis and spent nine years in hospitals, sometimes in a full-body cast. Doctors told the family that he would not recover, but at age 11 he learned to walk again after undergoing surgery. While Noriyuki was still recovering from the operation, he and his family were sent to a Japanese internment camp in Arizona for the remainder of World War II. While in the camp he adopted his stage name, Pat, from a priest he met.
After the war ended, the Morita family opened a chop suey restaurant ...Read more
As a child with dyslexia, Henry Winkler was ridiculed, so as "the Fonz" in the 1970s television sitcom Happy Days he made himself into everything he wanted to be--cool, funny and popular.
Winkler, 61, won international fame for playing the ultracool auto mechanic Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli in the ABC sitcom that ran from 1974 to 1984 with his motorcycle, leather jacket, and thumbs-up gesture becoming television icons.
But a new generation of children are relating to Winkler in a different way--not as his alter ego The Fonz but as Winkler, a child teased at school for being dumb.
After a lifetime of struggling with dyslexia, Winkler put pen to paper in 2003 with co-author Lin Oliver and re-created himself as Hank Zipzer, a smart fourth grader with learning difficulties but a great sense of humor and adventure.
"Hank Zipzer is my life. It is the building I was born in ...Read more
TV mogul Garry Marshall, hoping
audiences will have '70s nostalgia
for his television series about '50s nostalgia, is prepping a musical based on
Happy Days, his long-running sitcom that starred
Ron Howard and
Henry Winkler. The original series ran for 10 years.
Happy Days followed the exploits of Richie Cunningham, played by Howard, as he went through high school in 1950s suburbia. He was joined in his comedic adventures by his kid sister, Joanie; his best friends, Ralph Malph and Potsie; and the '50s hipster who boarded with the Cunningham family, Arthur Fonzarelli, aka The Fonz. The gang would often do the sock-hop down at Al's Place, the local soda joint.Read more
One of the most successful series of the 1970s is Happy Days, which is set in the late 1950s, early 1960s in Milwaukee, the heart of middle-class America. Happy Days tells the story of the Cunninghams, one of America's most beloved TV families played by Tom Bosley (Howard), Erin Moran (Joanie), Marion Ross (Marion), and Ron Howard (Richie). Richie and Joanie had an older brother, Chuck (Gavan O'Herlihy and Randolph Roberts), but he was phased out by the third season. Richie, who hangs out at Arnold's Drive-In with his buddies Potsie Weber (Anson Williams) and Ralph Malph (Donny Most), forms a close bond with neighborhood greaser, the Fonz (Henry Winkler). Living in an apartment above the Cunningham garage, the Fonz gives Richie advice on just about everything that he wants to know. Wearing his leather jacket atop his motorcycle while saying phrases like "aaaayyyy" and "sit on it," the Fonz is the king of cool and quickly became a cultural icon. As time passed, additional characters were introduced. Al Delvecchio (Al Molinaro) replaced Arnold (Pat Morita) as owner of Arnold's Drive-In in season 4. He would remain until the end of season 9. Season 5 saw Fonzie's cousin, Chachi Arcola (Scott Baio), and Richie's love interest, Lori Beth Allen (Lynda Goodfriend), come onto the scene. When Ron Howard and Donny Most left the show after season 7, the producers felt that they needed to add some characters to fill the void. Enter Cathy Silvers (as Jenny Piccalo - the never-before-seen-but-often-talked-about best friend of Joanie) and Ted McGinley (as Roger Phillips - Marion's nephew). The focus of the series shifted to the relationship between Joanie and Chachi. Season 10 saw Fonzie get a season-long love interest in the person of Ashley Pfister (Linda Purl). Other recurring characters added during the last four seasons were Roger's brother, Leopold "Flip" Phillips (Billy Warlock), Howard's niece, K. C. Cunningham (Crystal Bernard), Ashley's daughter, Heather Pfister (Heather O'Rourke), and Joanie and Chachi's classmates, Eugene Belvin (Denis Mandel), Melvin Belvin (Scott Bernstein), Bobby Milner (Harris Kal), and Tommy (Kevin Sullivan). In addition, Pat Morita returned during season 10 (and the first episode of season 11) to reprise his role as Arnold. By the end of the series, Richie had married Lori Beth and had two children, Al had married Chachi's mother, Louisa, Potsie was, presumably, still in college, and Ralph was training to be an optometrist. In the series' finale, "Passages," Joanie and Chachi were married, and Fonzie (owner of Fonzie's Auto Repairing and Arnold's as well as Dean of Boys at Patton High) adopted an orphan boy named Danny. Howard thanked the audience for being a part of their family, and a sentimental clip montage was shown to Elvis Presley's "Memories." Main Title Theme Songs "Rock Around The Clock" - written by Jimmy DeKnight (James E. Myers) and Max C. Freedman; performed by Bill Haley and The Comets (Seasons 1-2) "Happy Days" - written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox; performed by Pratt & McClain (Seasons 3-10) "Happy Days" - written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox; performed by Bobby Arvon (Season 11) ABC Broadcast History January 15, 1974 - September 20, 1983 ---- Tuesdays ---- 8:00 - 8:30 P.M. September 27, 1983 - January 31, 1984 ---- Tuesdays ---- 8:30 - 9:00 P.M. April 24, 1984 - May 29, 1984 ----------------- Tuesdays ---- 8:30 - 9:00 P.M. June 7, 1984 - September 24, 1984 ---------- Tuesdays ---- 8:00 - 9:00 P.M. Nielsen Ratings - Top 30 Season 1 (1974) Not In Top 30 Season 2 (1974-1975) Not In Top 30 Season 3 (1975-1976) #11 (23.9) Season 4 (1976-1977) #1 (31.5) Season 5 (1977-1978) #2 (31.4) Season 6 (1978-1979) #3 (tie) (28.6) Season 7 (1979-1980) #17 (21.7) Season 8 (1980-1981) #15 (tie) (20.8) Season 9 (1981-1982) #18 (20.6) Season 10 (1982-1983) #28 (tie) (17.4) Season 11 (1983-1984) Not In Top 30 Emmy Awards Nominations Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series 1976 - Henry Winkler 1977 - Henry Winkler 1978 - Henry Winkler Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series 1978 - Tom Bosley Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series 1978 - Jerry Paris - "Richie Almost Dies" 1981 - Jerry Paris - "Hello Mrs. Arcola" Outstanding Film Editing in a Comedy Series 1978 - Ed Cotter - "Richie Almost Dies" (winner) Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Comedy-Variety or Music Series 1979 - Marion Ross Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series 1984 - Marion Ross (source: Academy of Television Arts & Sciences) Golden Globe Awards Nominations Outstanding Production - Musical Or Comedy Series 1976 1977 Actor In A Leading Role - Musical Or Comedy Series 1976 - Henry Winkler (winner) 1977 - Henry Winkler (winner) 1977 - Ron Howard Actor In A Supporting Role - Series, Mini-Series, Or Television Movie 1982 - Anson Williams Youth in Film Awards Nominations Best Young Comedian 1979-1980 - Scott Baio Best Young Comedian - Motion Picture or Television 1980-1981 - Scott Baio (winner) Best Television Series - Family Enjoyment 1980-1981 Best Young Actor In A Television Series 1980-1981 - Scott Baio Best Young Actress In A Comedy Series 1981-1982 - Heather O'Rourke (source: The Young Artist Foundation) Miscellaneous Awards and Honors The Producers Guild of America's Hall of Fame for Theatrical Motion Pictures 2002 Television Inductee Other shows connected with Happy Days Love, American Style (pilot series) Laverne & Shirley (spin off) Blansky's Beauties (spin off) Mork & Mindy (spin off) Out of the Blue (crossover) The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang (cartoon) The Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour (cartoon) Joanie Loves Chachi (spin off) First Telecast: January 15, 1974 Last Telecast: September 24, 1984 Episodes: 255 color episodes plus two reunion specialsmoreless