Henry Winkler Reveals He Rode Fonzie's Iconic Motorcycle Only Once — and Crashed It

"I had no idea where the brake was, where the gear was and I shot forward," the Happy Days alum said on The Jennifer Hudson Show


Even The Fonz crashes and burns sometimes.

Henry Winkler admitted on Friday's episode of The Jennifer Hudson Show that he only actually rode his Happy Days character's signature motorcycle once. And unfortunately, it ended in disaster.

"I rode it really for 17 seconds, in the beginning, going up the hill. That was it," the actor, 77, told host Jennifer Hudson. "And there was a moment when they had me on soundstage 5 at Paramount. I was on the bike and all I had to do was rev it and move it five feet. I revved it and I be so dyslexic I had no idea where the brake was, where the gear was and I shot forward."

Related:Henry Winkler on Savoring This Phase of His Career: 'I Am Relaxed, I Can Take It in'

Leon Bennett/WireImage
Leon Bennett/WireImage

Winkler remembered nearly hitting the show's director of photography.

"He leapt out of the way," he recalled. "I put the bike down. We slid under the truck on the soundstage, and they came running. Everybody was, like, in a panic that the bike was fine because it was rented. And then they [said], 'How about you? Are you okay?'"

As a result, Winkler said he never rode the motorcycle again. "They scare me, actually," the Emmy winner continued. "They put it on a board with four rubber wheels, attached it to a truck."

Winkler joked that he really sold that he had been riding the bike, though. "Did I not lean on that bike like it was my bike?" he asked.

The Barry star also revealed that Steve McQueen previously rode the same motorcycle in 1963's The Great Escape.

"My tush and Steve McQueen hit the same seat!" Winkler remarked.

Herbert Dorfman/Corbis via Getty
Herbert Dorfman/Corbis via Getty

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Winkler called his Happy Days costars his "secondary family" and said he "dreamt" of having the long Hollywood career he's achieved.

"I came out here and two weeks after I arrived," he said, referring to Los Angeles, "I went to an audition for Happy Days and it changed my life."

Related:Henry Winkler Reveals the Cover of His New Memoir Being Henry

Happy Days ran for 11 seasons between 1974 to 1984 and launched Winkler's Hollywood career. He went on to star in Monty, Arrested Development, The Waterboy. He currently stars opposite Bill Hader in HBO's Barry, which earned Winkler his first Emmy in 2018.

Winkler recently told PEOPLE he has no plans to slow down.

"I have no license for that," he said in April. "I just have that feeling. I will stop when I have to stop."

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