Emmy-Nominated Writer-Producer Behind ‘Happy Days’ Dead at 78 — He Came Up With the Name ‘Fonzie’ and Is Credited With Suggesting the Shark-Jumping Scene

Nov 8, 2012  •  Post A Comment

The man credited with naming the iconic character “Fonzie,” along with later suggesting the infamous 1977 shark-jumping scene that would add the phrase “jump the shark” to the cultural lexicon, has died, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Happy Days" writer-producer and Emmy nominee Bob Brunner was 78.

Brunner often worked with "Happy Days" creator Garry Marshall, with the two meeting in 1959 when they were both copyboys for The New York Daily News.

Brunner, who died of a heart attack Oct. 28, moved into television writing for ABC’s "The Odd Couple," which was executive produced by Marshall.

After writing for "Laverne & Shirley" and "Blansky’s Beauties," Brunner wrote 15 episodes of "Happy Days" and produced 37, while also at times serving as showrunner, the piece adds. He created the nickname "Fonzie" for the character Arthur Fonzarelli, played by Henry Winkler, and came up with his catchphrase "Sit on it!," the piece notes.

The 1977 episode in which Fonzie challenges a local kid to a water-skiing contest created the term "jump the shark," which came to mean the moment when a popular TV show starts its inevitable decline, according to the piece.

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