It’s been over three decades since Winkler took on the role of Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, the doting older cousin of Charles “Chachi” Arcola (Baio) in the beloved ABC show about the Cunningham family, which ran from 1974 to 1984.
The two sitcom stars had the opportunity to reunite with the rest of the cast at a Democratic fundraiser held in Wisconsin in October. Many, including Winkler, participated in the event, but Baio, a vocal President Trump supporter, was noticeably absent.
At the time, Baio dubbed the event “a little bizarre,” given that its purpose was to “promote” then-Democratic nominees Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, the actor told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo. Winkler caught up with Fox News this week, when he made it clear that the bond struck between Fonz and Chachi wasn’t just manufactured for the small screen.
“Scott is my family,” Winkler, 75, told Fox News in a written statement. “But he has his political life and I have mine.”
Winkler’s comment comes just days after Don Most, who portrayed Ralph Malph in the sitcom, communicated his disappointment in Baio’s harsh critique of the event. Baio, 60, previously claimed he wasn’t on board with it because, “I don’t believe in socicalism and Marxists.”
“I knew that he would not be a part of this because of the differences in political views. So it was not a question of whether he would be a part of it or not. That was a given,” Most, 67, told Fox News. “But you know, Scott and I, we played golf together. It’s been a while now, about a couple of years, but we’ve stayed in touch somewhat. But in the last year, I haven’t seen him.”
Most went on to say that it was a “little disappointing” to hear Baio’s harsh words about the fundraiser.
“I felt it was way out of line,” Most admitted. “I really did. Because we are entitled to our opinions. And we were all as a group uniting to do something, just like he proposes his views. He was part of the show and people are aware of him because of that show. And he’s using that as a way to present his views. We’re entitled to do the same. And we were all united in the way we felt.”
Still, Baio assured Fox News that there was still a whole lot of love between him and his former castmates. He explained in a statement that his stance against the reunion came from his belief that “entertainment shouldn’t be political, especially when it comes to shows like ‘Happy Days’ that have such a powerful place in the hearts of so many Americans.”
“Invoking the show’s name to support a candidate for office was just wrong, in my opinion. That doesn’t change how much I love Donny, Henry [Winkler] and the rest of the crew from ‘Happy Days.’ I just wish they had thought this all the way through,” Baio continued.
During the event, guests were able to donate $1 or more to attend and watch the “Happy Days” cast participate in a Q&A, as well as share behind-the-scenes stories, Variety reported.
“We’re thrilled a show made famous in Milwaukee is coming back home to help make Donald Trump a one-term president,” said Ben Wikler, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, in a press release. “We know all roads to the White House go through the Badger State, and with the cast of ‘Happy Days’ helping us raise money to take back the White House, we believe even more we can deliver a victory on Nov. 3.”
The Electoral College has confirmed Democratic nominee Joe Biden, 78, as the nation’s next president.
Fox News’ Jessica Napoli and the Associated Press contributed to this report.