Ted McGinley expected to be fired from Happy Days immediately

In the Eighties, Ted McGinley was basically a model who got by on his good looks alone, considered the male version of Farrah Fawcett.

Everett Collection

You may not realize this, but in the history of Happy Days, there are two episodes called "Great Expectations."

The first episode called "Great Expectations" was in the first season and found Richie Cunningham befriending a beatnik girl who spends an evening showing the Cunninghams a different lifestyle choice.

The second episode called "Great Expectations" came in the show’s ninth season, centering on Roger Phillips attempting to assume a new persona, coached by Fonzie. Roger hopes that in following the Fonz’s advice, he’ll have a better shot with the ladies.

For Roger Phillips actor Ted McGinley, his episode of "Great Expectations" was perhaps one of his greatest acting challenges on the show, after the actor got cast out of nowhere to step into Ron Howard’s shoes and become Happy Days' new star in 1980.

You see, when McGinley joined Happy Days, he had no acting experience at all and his sense of comedic timing by his own reports were sincerely lacking. He told The Morning Call in 1982 that he can’t stand watching his early Happy Days episodes because he feels so awkward about what he views as lackluster performances. 

"It’s a wonder they didn’t fire me," McGinley said. "I realized I had to work on my lines at home and concentrate on the set before my cues. It was all so new. I’m bumbling away, and I hear stories of Ronny Howard, who forgot his lines just twice in seven-and-a-half years."

Despite his inexperience as an actor, McGinley famously won the role of Roger after ABC held a nationwide talent search.

At the time, McGinley had done some acting in commercials, but primarily he worked as a model. Considered the male version of Farrah Fawcett, his flowing blonde hair graced glossy magazines with national distribution.

It happened that the head of ABC talent was flipping through one of these magazines and saw McGinley grinning back. She immediately asked him to come into ABC for a screen test.

"I did it, and the next thing I knew, I was on Happy Days," McGinley told TheAlbuquerque Journal in 1982. "It was a very strange sequence of events."

At the time, McGinley had an agent at one of the country’s top modeling and talent agencies in Los Angeles. She also ran a modeling school where she told The Palm Beach Post in 1982 that she had a young pupil who asked her once what the odds were that he could become the next Ted McGinley.

"It just so happens Ted is one of my clients, so I told him the truth," the talent agent said. "I looked the young man right in the eye and said: 'Ted McGinley is a very handsome man. You’re not. There is no one in the entire apprentice group here whom I would term beautiful.'"

She said what happened to Ted was so rare, she never expected it to happen that way for anyone else in her career. "Sure, there will always be exceptions like Ted or Farrah (Fawcett)," she said, explaining that it was their exceptional beauty that made the difference.

"The plain fact is, looks count," she said. "I can call any producer in town and get one of my girls an interview, because all my girls are beautiful, but getting the job is up to them. Looks will open the door, but you’ve got to make it on talent."

McGinley recognized that his looks would only take him so far, learning fast that if he was going to make it as an actor, he needed to hone his talents, too.

He studied his costars Henry Winkler, Marion Ross and Tom Bosley, and then he enrolled in an improv class where he felt more confident trying out different approaches.

"I learned everything there," McGinley told The Morning Call. "I was taught timing. I learned to listen and was able to make a fool of myself and not worry about it. All I had was looks, so I was very insecure."

McGinley, of course, did go very far as an actor with such good looks, taking on starring roles after Happy Days on The Love Boat and Married With Children. He can still be seen starring in TV shows today.

Despite his reputation as a TV show killer, his continued success is likely a combination of how seriously he took his growth as an actor as well as those glorious blonde locks that got him in all those glossy magazines that launched his acting career.

In 1998, one of McGinley’s costars in the movie Major League 3, actor Scott Bakula joked to TheFort Worth Star-Telegram that the most fun he had doing the movie was "getting to make fun of Ted McGinley’s hair."

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


bagandwallyfan52 32 months ago
Easy or Hard Happy Days Questions:
What do the characters
Richie Cunningham and
Roger Phillips have in common?
What do the characters Moose
Eugene Belvin and Melvin Belvin
Have in common?
What do the characters
Spike and Chachi have in
What is the favorite pastime
Of Chuck Cunningham and
Roger Phillips have in common?
Wally Plumstead (Skip Ypung)
Of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Bag Zombroski (Neil
J. Schwartz- what 2 words
Describe their personalities?
Hint:The same 2 words describe
Uncle Arthur(Paul Lynde) on
What 2 clubs did Fonzie belong
To ??
What was Howard Cunningham s nickname in the army?
What was Fonzie's nickname
For Joanie?
Which character on Happy Days
Memorized every single name
In the Milwaukee phone book?
On season one of Happy Days only there were 3 heavyset
Characters - who were They?
Who was the guy that Ralph
Had a boxing match with?
Who was the guy that Ralph owed money to because of
The football betting cards?
What was Lori Beth s nickname
for Richie??
Who was Melvin Scratch?
Who got attested by the
Milwaukee police because they
Thought this guy was The
Kissing Bandit?
What was the name of the
Club that JENNY Piccalo
Wanted to join?
Who played Maralee on Happy
What was the name of the actress who danced with MOOSE BARRY GREENBERG
On the Happy Days episode
Guess Who's Coming To Visit?
How did Potsie get his nickname?
Which character had a crush
On Jenny Piccalo?
Richie had 2 different girlfriends
With the first name ARLENE?
What were the last names of
What was the name of the gang
That Richie Potsie and Ralph
Fought while Fonzie and Carmine (Laverne and Shirley)
Watched from the gym?
Who ran a fake beauty pageant
On Happy Days??
bagandwallyfan52 31 months ago
This comment has been removed.
Bertpar68 32 months ago
He's getting fired again???? That poor bastard
bagandwallyfan52 32 months ago
Fonzie Questions:
1 Who did Fonzie dance with on
One episode of Happy Days
That he wants to keep a secret?
2 Who is the only girl in
Milwaukee who.he said that
He would never go on a.date
With.On a third season episode of Happy Days Fonzie told Richie
That he would punch Richie
Out if Richie got Fonzie a date
With this girl.
3 Who was the girl that Fonzie
Thought he accidentally married?
4 What was Fonzie's middle
5 When Fonzie went to a pretty
Lady's apartment who did Fonzie throw out of her apartment?
Load previous comments
Fonzie Question Answers
1 On The Deadly Dares episode of Happy Days
Fonzie was dancing with
Richie Cunningham but
Richie had a blonde wig
On And Fonzie did not
Know that he was dancing
With Richie. When Fonzie
Found out that he was dancing with Richie he
Was surprised because
Fonzie thought he was
Dancing with a girl.
Richie and Potsie had to
Find someone to dance
With so that. They could
Join the Demons club.
The answers to all of The
Fonzie questions will be
On here at 11 am today
Monday October 11 th.
The answer to Fonzie
Question 2:
MERALEE(played by Carol
Williams) in the season 3
Episode called Fonzie's New Friend is the only
Girl in Milwaukee that he
Told Richie Cunningham
That he would never go on
A date with because Fonzie
Didn't like Meralees personality. Fonzie told Richie that he would punch Richie out if he tried to
Get Fonzie fixed up with
Meralee.Richie tried to get
Maralee a date with Sticks Downey Jr(John Anthony
Bailey) but Meralee wasn't
Interested in dating Sticks.
MERALEE only appeared on
Happy Days for one episode only.
I noticed that Carol Williams (MERALEE) looks
A lot like Carey Williams
Who danced with MOOSE BARRY GREENBERG) in
The epilogue of Guess
Who's Coming To Visit
Season one of Happy Days.
Moose and the cute girl
Played by Carey Williams
Were the only 2 persons
Who were not grounded
Because they didn't go to
The attempted Drag race
Between Fonzie and Skizzy.
I wonder if Carey Williams and Carol Williams are
Related because Carey and
Carol look a lot alike.
Moose and Carey Williams
Were in Arnold's by themselves and they
Decided to dance with
Each other.
I heard on You Tube that
Carol Williams MERALEE
Is the sister of Cindy
Williams of Laverne and
Shirley but I don't know
If Carey Williams and Cindy
Williams are related or if
Carey Williams and Carol Williams are related to
Each other.
For a while I thought that
Carey Williams and Carol Williams might be the same.person and that maybe Carey Williams. Changed her name to
Carol Williams but now
I believe that Carey Williams and Carol Williams are not the same
Person(2 different actresses who resemble
Each other).
Fonzie Question Answer
Jenny Piccalo Cathy Silvers
Is the girl that Fonzie thought that he accidentally married.
Another Fonzie Question
When Fonzie went to the
Pretty lady's apartment
He threw Richie Potsie
And Ralph out of her
Apartment .Richie Potsie
And Ralph were carrying
Encycylopedies to the
Woman's apartment and
Just as soon as Fonzie
Arrived at the woman's
Apartment he immediately
Threw out Richie Potsie and Ralph.That epilogue of
Fonzie throwing out Ralph
Potsie and Richie was by
Far The Funniest Epilogue
That I have ever seen.
There was NO Dialogue
In this epilogue except
For someone singing
Splish Splash In the
Another Funny epilogue
On Happy Days. Is when
Bag Zombroski tells Richie
Potsie and Ralph that he
Struck out when he asked
Mary Ann McCarhy for.a
Date and so Richie Potsie and Ralph carried BAG
Throgh Arnold's Drive In
in his underwear.
On the Happy Days episode
Hello Tough Guy Eugene Belvin (Denis Mandel )
Was demonstrating
How he beat up the
Tough guy at Vinnie's
Restaurant to AL Molinaro
He rent running in Arnold s
And EUGENE BELVIN crashed in the kithen at
Arnold's Drive In.
At the end of Tell It To The
Marines after Olivia(Amy
Irving) broke up with Ralph
A girl named Sheila comes
Out of the women's
Restroom wearing funny
Glasses and funny nose.
Then Ralph Malph comes
Into Arnold's sees Sheila
And Ralph puts on his
Funny galasses and fake
Nose and Ralph and Sheila
Start dancing with each other.There are other funny
Epilogues on Happy Days
Also.Does anyone else
Remember their favorite
Epilogue from Happy Days?
57Tbird 32 months ago
Now that I have found MeTV+ I am.now watching Streets Of San Francisco at 6, and Vegas with Robert Urich at 7. A wonderful change of.pace.
bagandwallyfan52 32 months ago
Ted McGinley and Cathy Silvers
Would like to see a Reboot of
Happy Days with new episodes.
A reboot? " a reboot of a TV show is a return to production after cancellation or a long hiatus.
Do you mean a remake? Similar to what they did with "The Wonder Years"?
Also I don't think they would have success acquiring the remaining surviving cast members, so you must mean a remake?
Runeshaper 32 months ago
It's AWESOME that Ted was able to branch out into acting and to be able to perform with some AWESOME actors and actresses must have been a true honor (-:
gerardarcade 33 months ago
For those who may care - McGinley scored another sitcom role during the 2K's, playing opposite Faith Ford and Kelly Ripa on "Hope And Faith", as Hope's husband. I have a DVD of the first season, and it's a shame the series was cancelled so unceremoniously. With all the write-in campaigns yielding unsatisfying reboots, someone should have petitioned for H&F: though it followed the formulaic sitcom protocol, female leads Ripa and Ford had an undeniable chemistry - and Ripa's comic timing is nothing short of amazing. While McGinley's character wasn't the focus of the show, it did explore the Shanowski's marriage and family, and there were some truly touching (as well as achingly funny) bits which revolved around him. Any 'reboot' devoid of the original leads (including McGinley) would be disastrous.
CoreyC 33 months ago
Ted McGinley was hired to fill the void that Ron Howard caused by his departure. Fonzie needed a companion to balance him but it paled in comparison.
Wapkep1982 33 months ago
I'd like to give some kudos to Ted McGinley. Taking on parts in aging shows is a hard way to kick off a career. I believe he has grown as an actor and has actually taken on more mature and thoughtful roles as the year go by. Please look at his more recent movies--especially "Do You Believe?"
AnnieM Wapkep1982 33 months ago
Indeed. Once Ron Howard left, Happy Days was pretty much painful to watch. I never knew before that Happy Days was his first acting job. I mean, the show was already a sinking ship when he was added to the cast. I thought he did alright. Heck, I thought he was hilarious on "Married With Children."
Pacificsun 33 months ago
I don't think Mr. McGinley himself should be blamed as being the "curse" of the sitcom killings. But rather the casting people (producers) who thought a quick fix (as in looks) would do the trick when the sitcom had probably aged out or what just lacking the talent needed. By his own admission (like how many times over) does TM had to admit he was under part but trying.
F5Twitster 33 months ago
"You see, when McGinley joined Happy Days, he had no acting experience at all and his sense of comedic timing by his own reports were sincerely lacking."

You mean SEVERELY lacking.

Ted McGinley today:

OwebamaDooshbag 33 months ago
Ted McGinley is a no-talent, tv-show killing hack. Plain and simple.
harlow1313 OwebamaDooshbag 33 months ago
Sadly, you are an ineffective troll. The last two syllables of your handle seem rather apropos.
Pacificsun OwebamaDooshbag 33 months ago
Wow. Jealous too. I mean, back in the day right.
harlow1313 31 months ago
This comment has been removed.
fightinfueler 33 months ago
All I can say is seasons 1 and 2 were the best. It had more of a 50s era environment with the checkered floor at Arnold’s, long gone after season 3 or 4. I enjoy the “laugh track” better than the “live” audience with all the screaming and shouting, that got on my nerves! And as soon as Ritchie left and the new Arnold’s was created it went 80’s with the automatic hand blow dryer in the restroom at Arnold’s???!! Seriously?? There was no hand blow dryer invented back then, and everything was getting too fake and the 50’s atmosphere was gone completely! I guess glamour wins once again!
All in all the show went downhill after Ritchie left and I lost interest in the show completely!!! No offense to Ted McGinley but he wasn’t my cup of tea when he came on. No one can replace Ron Howard except for Ron Howard.
My dad (God rest his soul) told me ALL about the 50’s as a youngster since he was there.
carrman fightinfueler 33 months ago
The hand held blow dryer had been around for decades before the 50's. It's amazing what knowing what one's is talking about before insertion of one's foot. 😂😂
Coldnorth fightinfueler 33 months ago
The screaming was way over the top. Couldn’t hear the first words cuz of all the unnecessary noise. Can anybody explain why laugh tracks are necessary. Live audience is different, they are actually watching. And yes I know there are cue cards telling the audience what to do.
country46 33 months ago
aint got much to say about this one
cperrynaples 33 months ago
We can NEVER forget that Jon Hein named him as a "shark jumper" even though Fonzie was the actual shark jumper...LOL! Also don't forget that he did an episode of Charlie's Angels called Toni's Boys!
BrittReid 33 months ago
Farrah Fawcett? Never.
cperrynaples BrittReid 33 months ago
Well, remember that episode of Charlie's Angels and think again!
I remember that episode. Barbara Stanwyk played the role of Toni.
bagandwallyfan52 33 months ago
Ted McGinley did a wonderful
Job of playing basketball coach
Roger Phillips.I recently read an
Article on the internet that
Richie's brother Chuck Cunningham was supposed to
Return to Happy Days in 1980.
In 1980 I read in Midnight Globe
That Chuck Cunningham would
Be returning to Happy Days
And that Jenny Piccalo. Would
Make her first appearance on
The show. Well Jenny Piccalo (Cathy Silvers) did finally show
Up after several years of Joanie
Talking about Jenny but Jenny
Piccalo was not seen on
Happy Days until 1980.
Chuck Cunningham did not
return to HD but the new
Character Roger Phillips was
Introduced as a friend of Fonzie.
Maybe the producers tried to
Get either Gavan O Herlihy or
Randolph Roberts to play
Chuck Cunningham again but
Maybe Gavan and Randolph
Were not interested in playing
Chuck Cunningham again.
I wish that the writers had
Made Chuck Cunningham (Gavan
Or Randolph) the assistant
Basketball coach working
With Head coach Roger Phillips.
Some persons on You Tube's
Video on Chuck Cunningham
That Ted McGinley could have
Played.the NEW CHUCK CUNNINGHAM but when
Eugene Belvin Denis Mandel
And Bobby Melner tricked
Ted McGinley to take things
Out of Fonzie's locker Ted
McGinley could not have played
Chuck Cunningham because
When Fonzie caught Ted McGinley taking stuff out of
His locker Fonzie would have
Recognized Chuck Cunningham
But Fonzie wouldn't and
Didn't recognize Roger Phillips
Because Fonzie had never
Seen Roger before.Also I
Wish that Bag Zombroski (Neil
J.Schwartz) Eugene Belvin Denis Mandel and Moose Barry Greenberg had stayed on
Happy Days and not vanished
Into thin air.

I think it's kinda cool actually. That he's more remembered for disappearing, than appearing! Not many can claim that fame!!
WordsmithWorks 33 months ago
I wouldn't say that McGinley "was hired to step into Ron Howard’s shoes and become Happy Days' new star." Henry Winkler's "Fonzie" was far and away the show's alpha character. And his character was just another minor role used to fatten up the cast, ala Jenny Piccalo, and later KC Cunningham. As far as his starring roles on "Happy Days," "The Love Boat" and "Married With Children," we all know the good-natured meme that follows him around. I'm not hating on McGinley, but let's tone down the revisionist history here.
Load previous comments
Michael Zip 33 months ago
They'd already brought in Cousin Spike and Cousin Chacchi
There should have been
3 Straight Men For FONZIE:
A great sidekick to Fonzie
After Richie left and BAG
And CHUCK would have
Been two wonderful
Addional sidekicks to Fonzie.
TijuanaSlim Michael 33 months ago
Unless I mis-remember wasn't Spike a one-off and they created Chachi because they realized they'd made Spike too much of a 'Wannabe Mini-Fonz', and would rather start fresh than worry about continuity, explaining his personality change
AnnieM TijuanaSlim 33 months ago
They sure didn't care about continuity - just ask Chuck Cunningham.
Moody 33 months ago
The male version of Farrah Fawcett? LOL! Sorry but I don't see it. It must've been the hair!
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?