Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Henry Winkler Knows What Started Long-Rumored Feud With Tom Hanks

By Michael Jun 2, 2024
Henry Winkler and Tom Hanks Steve Granitz/FilmMagic ; Max Cisotti/Dave Benett/Getty Images

There have long been rumors of bad blood between Henry Winkler and Tom Hanks, two actors otherwise known for their kindly dispositions. Winkler, 78, thinks he knows the decades-old moment when the rumor mill began to turn.

On the May 7 episode of the “How To Fail” podcast, the Happy Days actor recalled how he was fired from directing 1989’s Hanks-led cop comedy Turner & Hooch, which would have been Winkler’s second-ever feature-length film as director.

Turner & Hooch follows clean freak Detective Scott Turner (Hanks) as he tries to solve the murder of his former partner while caring for that partner’s massive, messy mastiff Hooch. Without naming Hanks, 67, outright, Winkler admitted that he warmed to the dog during his short time working on the movie but didn’t feel the same for his human co-lead.

“I did 11 weeks of preparation,” he told “How to Fail” host Elizabeth Day. “I knew this dog, this slobbery mastiff and I became friends. The star did not become my friend.” When asked if he meant Hanks, Winkler said, “I probably do.”

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The Barry actor went on to describe the moment he believes their relationship soured, which was when a fan recognized Winkler for his work as The Fonz over Hanks.

“We were in Carmel, this little seaside wonderful town on the coast of California, looking for a location and a woman comes, honest to God, comes running out of a shop and says ‘Henry, Fonz! Oh, my god!’ and I say, ‘And of course you know Tom Hanks,’” he shared. “The director of photography, when I was fired 13 days into filming said, ‘I knew that this was going to happen, on that day in Carmel.”

It has never been confirmed that Hanks pushed for Winkler to be fired. Both sides have remained relatively tight-lipped about what happened, with confirmation of the animosity between the two actors only coming in 2020 via Winkler’s former Happy Days costar Ron Howard. Howard, for his part, thinks that the pair were just poor coworkers.

“I’m friends with them both and both men felt compelled to come to talk to me about it. It was just one of those unfortunate things where they really had a working style that did not fit,” he told The Guardian, adding that the duo have since laid their bad feelings to rest. “It’s been a lot of years, two men with a lot of water under the bridge.”

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Winkler also confirmed that there’s no remaining friction between himself and Hanks, telling TMZ that “what everybody says and what is true are two different things.” Hanks has never spoken publicly about the rumored beef.

Back on the “How to Fail” podcast, Winkler recalled his initial misgivings at taking on the project and said the whole experience taught him to trust his gut. He shared that he initially told Disney execs that he was “not sure [he’s] the right guy” to direct Turner & Hooch.

“But your ego gets involved. The head of Disney? You want to direct. A feature film! Oh my god!” he said. “Another lesson I’ve learned: When your instinct knows to turn around and go the other way, do not second guess yourself. Your instinct knows everything and your head knows a little bit.”

By Michael

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