Anson Williams from Happy Days is a cancer survivor with the intention of creating a better world

Lovingly known as the clumsy Potsie Weber, who young women everywhere were crushing on, Anson Williams, now 73, has seen many Happy Days since leaving the hit TV series four decades ago.

Today, Williams runs several businesses, ran for mayor of his small California city, and as a cancer survivor, he’s learned to live with intention.

Wikipedia Commons / ABC Television

Anson got his big break in 1971 when he acted in a McDonald’s TV commercial with Good Times actor, John Amos. The next year, he was cast on a new show, called Happy Days, which ran from 1974 to 1984.

Created by the legendary Garry Marshall, Happy Days left viewers feeling nostalgic for drive-ins, varsity jackets and jukeboxes.


Speaking with Hollywood Life after Marshall’s death, Williams praised the show’s creator: “They just don’t make them like Garry. He had a heart bigger than his shows. Doing a show for Garry, he got into your life. He got into your head as far as taking responsibility for your life.” He continued, “He wanted us to learn writing, directing, and production. He opened up the entire line to educate ourselves. If we wanted it, it was there.”

Anson Williams, 1974. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)

The hit TV series introduced us to a group of friends Richie, Potsie, Ralph and The Fonz, who in the late ‘50s and ‘60s, gathered at the local greasy-spoon, Arnold’s restaurant, and shared stories from their days at Jefferson High.

Speaking of the comradery he shared with cast members, William said, “You know, we could have had large egos. We had millions of people watching us every week and we were The Beatles for years, but it never went to our heads. We all used it constructively.”

The show was a launching pad for many of its stars, in and out of Hollywood. Ron Howard, who played Richie, is now an award-winning filmmaker, Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams starred in their own spin-off show, Laverne and Shirley, and unknown actor at the time, Robin Williams played the alien Mork, which led to the TV series Mork and Mindy, and his worldwide acclaim as one of the greatest comedians of all time.

After Happy Days ended, Williams–who received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as Potsie–became a prolific TV director with shows like Baywatch, Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210 credited to his name.

Flickr / Kipp Teague

The Happy Days connections never ended. The group of friends are still tightly bonded, and Williams met his first wife, actor Lorrie Mahaffey on the set of Happy Days. The couple was married in 1978 and have a daughter, Hannah.

After divorcing Mahaffey in 1986, Williams married Jackie Gerken, his wife of over 30 years, and together, they share a brood of four daughters.

Though Williams has seen massive success in Hollywood, he wanted to follow his passion as an entrepreneur.

Coming from the Heimlich family–his uncle is Dr. Henry Heimlich, who invented the lifesaving choking maneuver of the same name–Williams is naturally innovative.

The actor runs two companies that feature natural products, StarMaker Products and Physicians Prefer, which–as the father of five daughters–makes women’s health issues a top priority.


With so much on the go, Williams’ primary focus is being a “daddy.” He said, “I’m daddy and when I’m with them I’m with them. It’s their time and it’s not my time.”

Moving out to Ojai, a small city in Ventura County that he earlier spent time connecting with nature and hiking trails, helped him overcome a few challenges, specifically his colon cancer diagnosis in December 2016.

After two surgeries and complications that required him to stay in hospital for one month, Williams emerged a cancer survivor.

Saying the diagnosis was a “wake-up call,” Williams set out to help others.

Almost falling asleep at the wheel after a long day of shooting, Williams collaborated with his uncle Heimlich and created a natural citrus spray, Alert Drops, that packs a punch to keep your mind alert.


“It was the wake-up call I needed,” Anson said “I needed to reprioritize my life. It actually became beneficial for me in that I became so much stronger about what I believe in.”

And of course, his appreciation for his family grew, “I always knew I loved them and they were important, but now it’s at a whole new level.”

A few months after his surgery, Williams posted a topless photo of himself, hoping to encourage others. In the caption, he wrote, “Didn’t post this picture for ego, etc, posted it to positively motivate my friends that are going through tough times.  Its been 6 1/2 months since my colon cancer surgery and I’m now in the best shape of my life.”


Then his love for life shifted him towards politics. In 2022, wanting to make government more responsive to its community, Williams announced his candidacy for Mayor of Ojai, but fell short by only 42 votes.


For Williams, it was only the beginning of an exciting journey. He still intends on using his platform to raise awareness on sustainable environmental policies, and in his off time, he is a devoted father and grandfather to three children.

It’s reported that Williams is separated from Mahaffy and now engaged to fellow Ojaiian Sharon Maharry, a relationship he keeps private.

Williams is still widely recognized as the beloved Potsie, but he continues to develop a life and career outside of Hollywood, contributing in ways that his former boss, Garry Marshall would be proud.

Didn't post this picture for ego, etc, posted it to positively motivate my friends that are going through tough times….

Posted by Anson Williams on Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Anson Williams has come really far since his days as Potsie. We’re so happy to see that he’s a cancer survivor who’s now using his life for the betterment of society!