The actor shares that it happened when he was shooting hit show ‘Happy Days’ as an Illinois state trooper asked him to help talk an aspiring actor who planned to jump off the ledge.
TV icon Henry Winkler once saved a suicidal teenager with a phone call.
The actor was shooting hit show “Happy Days” when an Illinois state trooper asked him to help talk an aspiring actor down from a high-rise ledge he was planning to jump from.
“The phone rings and they say, ‘Henry, it’s a call for you’,” Winkler recalls. “I walked over to the phone and the man said… ‘I’m sorry to bother you. I have a 17-year-old kid on the ledge. And he is threatening to jump off and he will only talk to you.’ ”
“I don’t know where I got the nerve to take the phone and start talking to this kid. I said, ‘OK, what is your name. OK, John, how old are you? You’re 17, you’re on the ledge, why do you want to jump?’ ‘I wanna be an actor.’ ”
Thinking quickly, Winkler asked the desperate teen to will him his record collection, prompting the 17-year-old to step off the ledge.
“(I said), ‘If you get off the ledge, let’s talk about acting… I was 27 when I got the Fonz, John. 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.’ ”
After recalling the story during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!“, Winkler said, “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 he knows the teen survived – because he never got his record collection.