Ron Howard and Cindy Williams were two of the biggest stars of the 1970s. They both starred in George Lucas’ classic coming-of-age drama, American Graffiti, and the popular sitcom, Happy Days. Sadly, Williams passed away on Wednesday at the age of 75.
Howard, the two-time Academy Award winning director-producer, told People magazine that he last saw Williams in Palm Springs last year. He was struck by her intelligence, energy, and sense of humor, which were still in overdrive.
The two actors had their first kissing scenes in American Graffiti, which was set in Modesto in the summer of 1962. Howard was 18 at the time, and Williams was 24. Williams, knowing that Howard was a nervous kid, told him how to kiss for the camera. She always had a big sister energy around him.
Williams and Howard worked together frequently over the course of five years before writer-director Garry Marshall hired them both to guest star on his popular 1950s sitcom Happy Days. They made a splash on a double date with Howard’s Richie and Henry Winkler’s Fonzie.
Henry Winkler, who played legendary biker Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, was among William’s notable Hollywood colleagues who paid their respects to the film and television star. In a series of tweets in response to William’s death, Winkler said he was sad and that he was an incredible friend and a fine and talented person.
Howard described Williams as highly intelligent, very funny, very perceptive about the world around her. He said she was never “fallen victim” to the illusions of glamour, and was instead committed to creativity.
It is clear that Williams had a huge impact on the lives of those around her. She will be deeply missed by her friends, family, and fans.