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Henry Winkler channels his best Fonzie — and reminisces about landing the role

The Emmy-winning actor hasn't missed a beat when it comes to playing his best-known character.
/ Source: TODAY

For Henry Winkler, playing Fonzie was truly happy days.

The actor, 73, chatted with Hoda and Kathie Lee on Tuesday about what it was like to portray the iconic role of Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli on “Happy Days.”

Winkler said the competition to land the part was pretty stiff. “Every actor I’ve ever seen on television was in that room,” he said. “It was amazing.”

The Fonz is still known to this day for his swagger, being the ultimate in cool and his beloved "Ayyyyy" catchphrase, so how did Winkler come up with a way to play him?

“It came to me as soon as soon as I changed my voice,” he said before he went into character.

“Hey, Hod," he said in full Fonz effect. "I think you’re pretty great, you know. I like everything about you. But those eyes, they’re piercing.”

Happy Days
Henry Winkler as The Fonz from "Happy Days."Getty Images

And when Kathie Lee asked about Hoda’s smile, Winkler didn’t miss a beat.

“That smile? I can see it in Montana.”

Winkler cherishes what starring on the show meant to him and how opened new doors for him, such as co-hosting TODAY!

“Unbelievable. And what it led to. It introduced me to the world. And here I am. I was 27 when I got the Fonz. I’m 73 years old. And here I am co-hosting with you lovely ladies.”

Winkler earned three Emmy nods for his work as the Fonz, but always went home empty-handed. In fact, Winkler never won an Emmy at all until last year when he snagged the Best Supporting Actor trophy for “Barry," in which he plays acting teacher Gene Cousineau.

The HBO show has been a revelation for him.

“The writing was like reading cashmere instead of a cotton blend,” he gushed.

To that, all we can say is, "Ayyyyy!"