Anson Williams (Actor) - Happy Days
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Updated: 2/27/23

Name: Anson Williams

Birth Name: Anson William Heimlich

Born: September 25, 1949 in Los Angeles, California, USA

Nickname: Potsie

Claim To Fame: Anson Williams is an American actor, singer, and director, best known for his role as gullible, well-intentioned singer Warren "Potsie" Weber on the television series Happy Days (1974-1984).

Family Life: He has been married to Jackie Gerken since 1988. They have four children; Hannah Lily, Olivia Jean, Gabriella Rose, and Stella Rayne. He was previously married to Lorrie Mahaffey.

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Info: Williams is the son of Rosalind (Horowitz) and Haskell "Hal" Heimlich/Heimlick.

He is of Hungarian Jewish and Russian Jewish descent.

His father, Haskell Heimlich, legally changed the spelling of the family name to "Heimlick", unlike Williams's uncle, Dr. Henry Heimlich, namesake of the Heimlich maneuver for treating choking victims.

Attended Burbank High School, where he was captain of the track team and acted in multiple school productions.

He founded Starmaker Products, a cosmetics company.

In 2011, Williams and four of his Happy Days co-stars, Erin Moran, Don Most, Marion Ross and the estate of Tom Bosley, who died in 2010, filed a $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against CBS, which owns the show, claiming they had not been paid for merchandising revenues owed under their contracts. In July 2012, the actors settled their lawsuit with CBS. Each received a payment of $65,000 and a promise by CBS to continue honoring the terms of their contracts.

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Trivia: In 1971, he appeared with John Amos in a commercial for McDonald's.

Made his acting debut on Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law: Eulogy for a Wide Receiver (1971), with Steven Spielberg directing the episode.

In 1972, Williams portrayed Potsie Weber in a segment of the comedy-anthology series Love, American Style titled "Love and the Happy Days", which also introduced Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard), Richie's mother Marion (Marion Ross), and other characters who were spun off into the television series Happy Days. (Only Williams, Howard, and Ross reprised their roles).

The new series' first season, during which Williams received second billing after Howard, was centered mainly on Richie and Potsie.

Eventually, as breakout character Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler) and Richie's mother, father, and sister became more popular, Potsie was joined by Ralph Malph, and the pair became inseparable.

The role earned Williams a nomination for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or Television Film.

Williams was one of the few to remain through the entire run of the series, although his appearances became less frequent in later seasons.

Credits Marion Ross as his favorite acting mentor/best friend.

In some episodes, Richie, Potsie, and Ralph formed a band combo that performed at Arnold's Drive-In and other places. As Potsie, Williams actually sang lead vocals for the group. Williams's first wife, Lorrie Mahaffey, portrayed Potsie's girlfriend, Jennifer, in later seasons.

In 1977, during his run on "Happy Days" Williams recorded and released a single, "Deeply" which peaked at #93 on the Hot 100.

Williams played Potsie Weber in four different series: Love, American Style (1969), Happy Days (1974), Laverne & Shirley (1976) and Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996).

After Happy Days, Williams began a much more prolific career as a television director, starting with short programs for adolescent-age children, including afterschool specials "No Greater Gift" (1985) and "The Drug Knot" (1986), and TV-movie Lone Star Kid (1986). He's also directed numerous episodes on hit series like Melrose Place (1992-1999), Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000), Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996-2003), Lizzie McGuire (2001-2004), and The Secret Life of the American Teenager (2008-2013).

In 1987, fellow Happy Days cast member Al Molinaro and Williams opened a chain of diners called Big Al's; the business went defunct.

Williams initially objected to footage of Potsie appearing in Weezer's 1994 music video Buddy Holly, which was set in Arnold's Drive-In from Happy Days, but he later relented.

He played himself in a 1996 Happy Days-themed Boy Meets World episode (which also featured former castmates Tom Bosley and Pat Morita).

While directing a 2003 episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch titled "Sabrina in Wonderland", he appeared as Potsie in a fantasy sequence.

In 2014, Williams wrote an autobiography, Singing to a Bulldog: From Happy Days to Hollywood Director, and the Unlikely Mentor Who Got Me There.

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Where Are They Now: It looks like Williams has taken a break from world of entertainment to try his hand at politics. In the summer of 2022, Williams announced that he would be running for the position of Mayor of Ojai, California. He lost to incumbent mayor Betsey Stix by 42 votes, with Williams receiving 1,781 votes to Stix's 1823. Hopefully, Williams will return in front of or behind the camera. Or could he possibly re-invent his career as a singer? Who knows? Or what about a Happy Days reboot? Only time will tell.


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