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Henry Winkler's Fonzie

Cindy Williams as Shirley (continued)

August 1976 — (continued from here) Q: Laverne and Shirley is a spinoff of Happy Days, Did your character undergo any drastic changes before the series actually spun off from Days? A: Oh yes, and like I said before, our characters are still changing. We'll five up to our image—just as soon as we find out what it is! I don't know if you saw the Happy Days we were on, but the characters are totally different from the characters that we do now. We were very hard girls. And the characters will change even more.

Q: Cindy, what do you think the executives at ABC saw in that single half-hour segment of Happy Days that made them decide to do a spinoff of Laverne and Shirley? A: I heard that Freddie Silverman slapped his leg and said, "I love it, two bimbos ... it's a sure winner!" I don't know. It was probably like nothing they'd ever seen.

Laverne & Shirley stuff for sale

Q: Your characters aren't tough now. Actually, I see a lot of vulnerability in both "Laverne" and "Shirley." A: No, we're not tough. I remember tough girls. You couldn't do a series on real tough girls who beat the - - - - out of everybody. But we did get into this wonderful fight one week, in a pool hall. The audience laughed so hard, we finally broke... it was the biggest laugh we ever got...

Q: Are most of your friends in show business, too? A: Most of them are actors, because I've been acting so long ... since I was 15 or 16. But I have a couple of friends who aren't actors or actresses and I consider them very good friends ...

Q: What qualities do you look for in your friends? A: I don't think that any of us look for qualities in friends... I think friends happen. It's just a process of sharing certain experiences with people—then they become either your friends or acquaintances or someone you just knew briefly or someone extremely close to you. I'm very fortunate. I have some very wonderful, colorful, loyal, supportive friends. I consider them like my family .. .

Q: What about the men in your life—is there anybody special at the moment? A: Right now, I'm in between ... I used to stay pretty much to one person for a long time and now I'm dating a lot of people at one time, but I don't like it much.. . I have someone whom I love very much and I've had a basic relationship with him for many years —but there's no marriage or anything yet...

Q: Have you ever dated any of your co-stars? A: Yeah, I've gone out with Henry Winkler and Richard Dreyfuss, two really great guys ...

Q: It sounds like you're still friends with them both . . . A: With Henry, I had a terrific relationship. We went out together for about a half a year, maybe a little more. We had a terrific relationship, still do. And with Ricky the same thing—almost...

Q: What was your childhood like? A: I grew up here (California) and in Texas. I was born here, moved to Texas when I was one, and then moved back here when I was 10. My childhood years were in Texas and we were very poor. My father was an electronics technician and my mother was a waitress ... a very odd childhood. We were left alone a lot. . . not meanly, but because we could handle ourselves at 5 or 6, and because mom went to work an hour before my father would come home. So we would be left for an hour, me and my little sister, alone.

Q: Did you develop your keen sense of humor early in life? A: Well, my father had this fabulous sense of humor, and my sister and I just picked it up... he was a very funny man. I got a lot from him ... and my mother too, only because she is such a character. My father would imitate her and we would imitate him imitating her and then my mother would get upset and pout —and then we would all imitate her pouting. It was fun... it had its sad parts too, but it was a lot of fun. I could never forget what a struggle it is and how sad it is when you don't have money to do things ...

Q: Did your parents encourage or discourage you from going into show business? A: My family worried that I'd end up poor, like they had been and still were, so they wanted me to become a secretary. But I wasn't any good at typing. I get too nervous. Then I started taking drama as an elective in high school and I just fell in love with it. That was my...

Q: Turning point? A: Yes, that's what it was. It got into my blood.

Q: Had you done any acting before that? A: Yes, I always put on skits with my sister—in the garage. You know ...produced, directed and written by Cindy Williams—with her sister doing strange things—in costume. But they were great. We packed the garage .. . those were some of the most fun performances I.ever had.

Q: Are you proud of your accomplishments? A: No, not yet... I haven't done what I want yet.

Q: What do you want to do? A: Well, have you seen Bobby DeNiro in Taxi Driver yet? That's what I want to do. I want to be able to act like that. And when I can have a moment or two like that where — well, he had such chemistry with himself—when I can do that. . . everything else is a piece of cake and a piece of fluff!

Cindy Williams' Shirley — page 1

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