Henry Winkler shares how he channeled Fonz to stop suicide attempt

The actor proved to be the voice of reason for an aspiring actor who needed help.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Drew Weisholtz

Henry Winkler was cool as Fonzie but he was even cooler under pressure.

While appearing on Tuesday night’s episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” the actor told a story about how he talked a suicidal fan off the ledge during his time on “Happy Days.”

When asked to recount a story from his lengthy career that made him go “I can’t believe that happened,” Winkler, 73, said he once got a call in the studio from an Illinois state trooper.

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“I have a 17-year-old kid on the ledge. And he is threatening to jump off and he will only talk to you,” Winkler recalled the officer saying.

“And I don’t know where I got the nerve to take the phone and start talking to this kid,” he added.

Winkler, who won his first Emmy Award last year for his work on HBO's "Barry" and is nominated again this year, asked the teenager his name and age and confirmed he was on a ledge. The boy, who Winkler called John, said he wanted to jump because he wanted to be an actor.

Winkler then asked him if he would will his record collection to him but then added they could talk about acting if he got off the ledge.

Winkler was an enormous star in the '70s and early '80s, thanks to his portrayal of Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli.Getty Images

The kid went inside and they kept talking.

“I was 27 when I got the Fonz, John,” Winkler recalled telling him. “I think you’ve got 10 good years to keep trying. How ‘bout that? Will you do that? Ok. Can I get back to rehearsing? Thank you,” Winkler said while motioning that he hung up the phone, as the audience applauded his effort.

Henry Winkler in New York City this past April.Walter McBride / WireImage

“I have not thought about that story in a while. I don’t know where I got the nerve to talk to him and I just thought, ‘I’m gonna maybe take him in another direction.’

“And I never got the records,” he said.