Micky Dolenz almost played another iconic TV character: ‘Still laugh about it’

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Micky Dolenz is quick to note that he auditioned to portray a drummer on the Monkees. After winning the part, that zany character became inextricably intertwined with his own persona. Fast forward nearly five decades later, and few can imagine him as anything other than one of the Monkees.

But in the period that followed the late-1960s conclusion of Monkees’ television show, Micky Dolenz moved on to other parts, continuing a career in acting that had started long before he met Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork. One audition, in particular, illustrates a road not taken — a path that would have completely changed the pop culture landscape of the 1970s.

Seems Micky Dolenz was up for the part of the Fonz.

The character of Arthur Fonzarelli, a motorcycle-riding ladies man, was the breakout star of ABC’s Happy Days, a 1950s-themed sitcom that aired from 1974-84. Created by Garry Marshall, the show became one of the highest-rated programs of the ’70s largely on the basis of Henry Winkler’s fame in the role of the Fonz.

Things could have been much different, Dolenz reminds.

“It actually came down to me and Henry Winkler,” he tells Guitar World. “We’re good friends and still laugh about it. I remember when Henry first walked into the interview. He saw me and said, ‘Oh, crap, Micky Dolenz is here. I’ll never get it.’ [Laughs.] But I’m so glad he did, because he was a much better Fonz than I would have been. He is the Fonz!”

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  • wytzox1

    Micky is indeed a good sport. Despite the great acting potential he showed on Circus Boy, his character on The Monkees typecast him and possibly kept him from ever again being taken seriously as an actor. Yet in spite of that Micky has never been bitter about losing the role of Fonzie to Henry Winkler and still talks fondly about the great times he’s had as 1 of the 4 Monkees. What a terrific guy indeed. ?

  • CJK5H

    I am guessing Dolenz still realizes he had it pretty [bleeping] good as a Monkee.

  • DaveinUtah

    Are the audition tapes available to see?