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Aaaay! Henry Winkler admits he was 'too frightened' to host 'Saturday Night Live'

by Randee Dawn / / Source: TODAY

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Grown-ups probably know Henry Winkler best from his classic role as The Fonz on "Happy Days." Parents and small children may know him in a different way: for his children's books. But no one knows him for hosting "Saturday Night Live" — because it never happened.

In 1977, Winkler was a huge star thanks to his portrayal as the ultimate cool dude Arthur "Fonz" Fonzarelli on the hit TV show. But when "SNL" asked him to host one episode, he got all camera-shy.

"I was too frightened at that time to be a host," he explained on TODAY Monday. "I did not think I would do a great job."

He did make one appearance, though, in an "SNL" special targeted to New Orleans' Mardi Gras celebration.

"I was [at] the King of Bacchus parade in New Orleans, and ... 'Saturday Night Live' was there," he said. "I did a segment with Gilda Radner [as Barbara Walters] where she interviewed me and all of a sudden The Fonz wanted to be interviewed also." (There's a fun photo of Radner and Winkler on the show here.)

Green room @Todayshow pic.twitter.com/8C3X2DBcne

— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) February 9 | 2015 " title="desktop:

Green room @Todayshow pic.twitter.com/8C3X2DBcne— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) February 9 | 2015

" class="news-widget" id="widget_1" data-widget-name="tweet_embed" data-widget-id="33" data-widget-image="http://citrus.today.com/sites/default/files/tweet_embed.png" data-desktop="%3Cblockquote%20class=%22twitter-tweet%22%20lang=%22en%22%3E%3Cp%3EGreen%20room%20%3Ca%20href=%22https://twitter.com/TODAYshow%22%3E@Todayshow%3C/a%3E%20%3Ca%20href=%22http://t.co/8C3X2DBcne%22%3Epic.twitter.com/8C3X2DBcne%3C/a%3E%3C/p%3E—%20Henry%20Winkler%20(@hwinkler4real)%20%3Ca%20href=%22https://twitter.com/hwinkler4real/status/564768126387376128%22%3EFebruary%209,%202015%3C/a%3E%3C/blockquote%3E%20%3Cscript%20async%20src=%22//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js%22%20charset=%22utf-8%22%3E%3C/script%3E" data-meta-info="desktop">

Not hosting doesn't seem to have hurt Winkler's career, and undoubtedly he'd make a great host now. In any case, he's got other things on the ball, including his fourth published "Here's Hank" book, called "Here's Hank: Fake Snakes and Weird Wizards," which he wrote with Lin Oliver.

And in the end, he's not sorry at all about his decision not to host "SNL." "I have to take my decision, and that was what I decided," he said. "But we watch every week for 40 years. Everybody tunes in Saturday night. So do we!"

Then in the studio !!! @todayshow pic.twitter.com/htD1Yew0r1

— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) February 9 | 2015 " title="desktop:

Then in the studio !!! @todayshow pic.twitter.com/htD1Yew0r1— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) February 9 | 2015

" class="news-widget" id="widget_0" data-widget-name="tweet_embed" data-widget-id="33" data-widget-image="http://citrus.today.com/sites/default/files/tweet_embed.png" data-desktop="%3Cblockquote%20class=%22twitter-tweet%22%20lang=%22en%22%3E%3Cp%3EThen%20in%20the%20studio%20!!!%20%3Ca%20href=%22https://twitter.com/TODAYshow%22%3E@todayshow%3C/a%3E%20%3Ca%20href=%22http://t.co/htD1Yew0r1%22%3Epic.twitter.com/htD1Yew0r1%3C/a%3E%3C/p%3E—%20Henry%20Winkler%20(@hwinkler4real)%20%3Ca%20href=%22https://twitter.com/hwinkler4real/status/564780986207313920%22%3EFebruary%209,%202015%3C/a%3E%3C/blockquote%3E%20%3Cscript%20async%20src=%22//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js%22%20charset=%22utf-8%22%3E%3C/script%3E" data-meta-info="desktop">

"Here's Hank: Fake Snakes and Weird Wizards" will publish on Feb. 10.

Follow Randee Dawn on Google+ and Twitter.

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