Anson Williams is a well-known actor who is most remembered for portraying the role of Potsie on the popular television show “Happy Days.” Even after so many years, people continue to ask about his participation in the program. Since the show ended, Williams has started some businesses and survived colon cancer. He turned his new chance to succeed into a chance to lead a meaningful existence and even thought about running for office.

Anson Williams on "Happy Days" in 1979. | Source: Getty Images

Anson Williams on “Happy Days” in 1979. | Source: Getty Images

Anson Williams initially came to worldwide attention thanks to his role as Potsie on the pioneering television series “Happy Days.” Due to the importance of his part in the story, he was considered for a Golden Globe.

It took some time before someone was given the role of Potsie since dozens of people tried out for the part. The chance, though, offered itself to Williams. William arrived late to the audition, which his agent had arranged for him, and he was the one who ended up getting the part.


Yet, the first test episode of the program did not sell well. Even so, the actor was invited to shoot the second pilot and proceeded to do a screen test with many other people; however, he had to wait a month before finding out if he had already been cast in the role.

Williams earned his first paycheque in a McDonald’s commercial, which also turned out to be so iconic that it was brought back on TV years later. “Happy Days” was not his first on-screen work; he made his first appearance in a commercial.

The actor was happy that he had the chance to work with such a well-known brand and felt the feeling of making his own money. Yet his time spent on “Happy Days” will be remembered the most.

Anson Williams on "Happy Days" in 1974. | Source: Getty Images

Anson Williams on “Happy Days” in 1974. | Source: Getty Images

Williams gave Garry Marshall, the creator of the show, credit for carefully selecting a group of people who would end up having the closest relationship even four decades after the show had ended.

The actor further highlighted that Marshall not only directed them when it came to their performances, but he also saw their time spent working on “Happy Days” as a learning opportunity and taught the whole crew and cast the ins and outs of the entertainment industry.

Most “Happy Days” cast members have continued successful careers on and off the screen. Williams credits his time on the program with some of the best friendships in his life and an on-screen girlfriend who would become his wife.

Anson Williams and Lorrie Mahaffey in Californian in 1983. | Source: Getty Images

Anson Williams and Lorrie Mahaffey in Californian in 1983. | Source: Getty Images

Williams met his first wife, Lorrie Mahaffey, on the Grand Ole Opry; however, art imitated life when Mahaffey starred as a guest star on “Happy Days” and played Williams’ girlfriend throughout those episodes. They got married in 1978, but in 1986 they decided to break up their marriage. They also have a daughter named Hannah.

Williams was never able to get used to the flash and glamour of Hollywood, even though “Happy Days” enabled him to gain many fans. He said that despite this, he would go for a hamburger over a filet Mignon no matter the day.

Even so, the actor was most thankful for the opportunity to be with a group of experienced and talented actors who ultimately became his family.

'Happy Days' co-stars Don Most and Anson Williams, at Ron Howard's and Cheryl Alley's wedding, and Tom Bosley in California in 1975 | Source: Getty Images

‘Happy Days’ co-stars Don Most and Anson Williams, at Ron Howard’s and Cheryl Alley’s wedding, and Tom Bosley in California in 1975 | Source: Getty Images

William’s life was transformed due to his acting career; however, he was never concerned about being shoehorned as a certain sort of performer since he knew he would not stay in the industry forever. The actor wanted to pursue his business interests.

Saving Lives and Fighting Cancer

Williams has been working behind the scenes to build a business ever since “Happy Days” ceased to be broadcast. He worked as the show’s director for a total of 5 years. “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”

The actor is a father of five children and owns two product companies. “I have no time. My life’s not my own.” reiterated Williams

Anson Williams in California in 2021. | Source: Getty Images

Anson Williams in California in 2021. | Source: Getty Images

Even though Williams had performed significant roles as an actor and director, he said his children had not shown any interest in the entertainment industry. He revealed that his children had not even seen a full episode of “Happy Days.”

Even so, Williams pointed out that he does not desire for his kids to pursue a career in acting; he wants to be recognized as “daddy” while he is with his kids rather than a famous actor.

He also admitted that acting was difficult, so he thought writing might be a better career option for his children to explore. Nonetheless, he stated that “it’s their time, not mine, my time,” and that they are thus free to live as they see fit. He believed writing might be a better career option for his children to explore than acting.

Anson Williams in California in 2019. | Source: Getty Images

Anson Williams in California in 2019. | Source: Getty Images

Williams decided to leave Los Angeles in 2011 and travel to Ojai, California, to live a more peaceful lifestyle. The man, a father to five children, wanted to allow his children to live away from the public eye and err without feeling any pressure.

In addition, the actor from “Happy Days” explained that he had visited the hiking trails in Ojai on several occasions over a few weekends and that each time he felt that the location brought out the best in him, in addition to the fact that it was a small community that was filled with love.

He was fortunate enough to be able to buy a house in Ojai and begin a new life there. Williams said that he relocated there after overcoming a few personal struggles, the most significant of which was a diagnosis of colon cancer.

Anson Williams on "Battle of The Network Stars" in 2017. | Source: Getty Images

Anson Williams on “Battle of The Network Stars” in 2017. | Source: Getty Images

Williams beat cancer, but he had a few problems in the hospital after two surgeries, which made his stay there a month longer than the planned three days.

As a result of the struggles he had to go through with his health and other aspects of his personal life, he fell into a state of depression. Thus, moving to Ojai pushed him to try enjoying his life again.

Williams chose to make it his mission to live a life with a purpose since he was given another chance at life, which turned out to be an opportunity to turn a negative experience into something positive.

Anson Williams in New Jersey in 2015. | Source: Getty Images

Anson Williams in New Jersey in 2015. | Source: Getty Images

Moreover, Willaims developed a product to help in the protection of human life. It was inspired by an incident where he nearly lost his life while driving tired after a long day of shooting on location.

Williams said that he informed his uncle, Dr. Henry Heimlich, about the event and that Dr. Heimlich told him to chew on a lemon whenever he felt tired before attempting to drive. Williams’ uncle explained how citrus created a reflex response in the brain that kept one alert.

This is where he developed the idea for his product, which he called Alert Drops. Instead of carrying around lemons, Williams and Hemlich devised a spray that could be easily carried around and contained enough citrus to keep the brain alert and potentially save many lives.

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Facebook/Anson Williams

Williams only had a few thoughts about how he might improve his life, and one of them was to contribute a significant amount to the cause of raising awareness about the risks of driving while drowsy. His objective was to make an investment that would be helpful not just to him but to the world.

Williams recalled that even in the hospital, he would wander down the hallways and make other patients laugh. ​​​​”I did what I was trained to: bring good humor, take the stress out of people’s lives, and make them smile,” he said.

Surviving cancer, in addition to all else, made him appreciate his family more than ever before. Even though he had always been aware of how much he loved them, the fact that he now had the opportunity to spend more time with them was extremely important to him.

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Facebook/Anson Williams

Williams posted an unshaven image of himself on his blog. The actor, now 77 years old, flaunted his toned physique, which he had achieved six months after having surgery to remove colon cancer.

The actor did not post photos of his body to brag about it; rather, he did it to inspire his friends and fans who, like him, were going through tough moments and felt they would not survive them.

Williams emphasized the importance of the mind in assisting people in moving forward once more. Due to this, he could win over every challenge once he had first won over his mind and realized how important it was for him to continue living on purpose.

Anson Williams, Jackie Gerken and their daughter Hannah in California in 1993. | Source: Getty Images

Anson Williams, Jackie Gerken, and their daughter Hannah in California in 1993. | Source: Getty Images

After his separation from Mahaffey, William married his longtime love, Jackie Gerken, in 1988, and the couple now shares parental responsibilities for their four children.

Hannah, his eldest daughter, is married and has two children, and he talked to her about how she works at Buzzfeed. Hannah is his eldest daughter. Williams also shared the news that three of his children have the rank of black belt.

Anson Williams and Jackie Gerken separate after more than three decades of marriage.

In 2020, Williams and his wife Gerken opted to end their marriage for a second time. It had been less than a year since he first filed for divorce when he decided to end his marriage for the second time.

Anson Williams and Jackie Gerken in California in 2006. | Source: Getty Images

Anson Williams and Jackie Gerken in California in 2006. | Source: Getty Images

The first time, the couple fought about whether or not to break up their relationship but eventually chose to stay for the sake of their children. Yet a year later, Williams explained that the initial agreement was for the three to live separate lives without involving the law.

After a little time, it became clear that they had to make the status of their relationship official by getting a divorce decree. The second time around, Williams did not provide a significant amount of detail on the circumstances of their divorce.

The couple concluded it would be in everybody’s best interest to share legal custody of their three little children, Olivia, Gabriel, and Stella. Soon, Olivia and Gabrielle will fly the nest and leave for college, while the youngest child will remain to live at home.

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Williams also said that he and Gerken concluded that it was in everyone’s best interest for them to dissolve their marriage officially. “Sometimes you have to do what’s best for everyone,” Williams remarked.

In the spirit of directing his efforts where they are most needed and where he has the most passion, It was revealed in 2022 that Williams would be running for the office of Mayor of Ojai, California. The actor’s bid failed, unfortunately.

Williams was defeated by his rival, Major Betsy Stix, who received 42 more votes than he did. In all, 1823 votes were cast for Stix, whereas only 1781 were for the actor.

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Despite this, Williams looked unaffected by the defeat. He expressed gratitude to the people of Ojai for their continuous support and faith in the significance of his work for the town.

He did not see the loss as a permanent defeat, but for Williams, it was merely the beginning of an exciting journey. He did not view the loss as a lasting defeat. He said significant work needed to be done since politicians had harmed their community.

So, Williams is resolved to use his platform and the support of his fans to expose the damage done to his Ojai community by the acts of other community leaders.

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Facebook/Anson Williams

In addition to exploring a variety of career routes, it was said that he had just found love again. Williams acquired a home in Ojai, where he met his alleged lengthy partner, Sharon MaHarry, whom he had been seeing for the past three years.

MaHarry’s life was very ordinary, although she did have a successful career in advertising and marketing, was the author of a published memoir, and authored short fiction. Now, she is working in the brokerage of the real estate industry. Maharry, a mother herself, brought up her daughter Lindsy in Ojai.

Williams’s life has been filled with joy since moving to Ojai, and now he is a grandfather to his two grandchildren. His daughter Hannah posted a special family picture from her wedding, showing that she was fastening her dress to her bra while walking to the alter.

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Also, Hannah posted a picture of Williams and her son Jackson during the Exotic Car event on her Instagram account. She added another gorgeous photo of her family, including Williams and Wyatt.

Williams travels the globe in addition to his other duties, which include being an involved father and grandfather and offering meal plans for a healthy lifestyle on his Twitter account. The actor posted a picture of himself in Rome, Italy, along with a caption expressing how much he could not wait to see the city again.

Williams still lists his Facebook status as separated and maintains his romantic relationships as hidden, even though he has reportedly found a partner and filed for divorce.

Williams is celebrated today for his appearance on the TV series “Happy Days.” Notwithstanding this, he has built out a lucrative career outside of Hollywood, all while using his innovative products to help save the lives of some innocent people.

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