It’s over — again — for “Happy Days” star Anson Williams, 70, and his wife of more than 30 years.
On June 10, TMZ reported that the actor who played gullible singer Warren “Potsie” Weber on the beloved sitcom for a decade in the late ’70s and early ’80s had filed divorce papers to end his marriage to Jackie Gerken a week earlier in Los Angeles.
It’s the second time in less than a year that Anson has sought to end their union. He first filed for divorce in September 2019.
But as TMZ reports, just a few weeks later in October 2019, he returned to court to ask a judge to dismiss his filing, presumably so he and Jackie could try to work things out. They married in 1988 and reportedly had four kids together. He also reportedly has a child with his first wife, Lorrie Mahaffey, to whom he was married from 1979 to 1986.
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Last September, Anson cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the split and told TMZ in a statement, “Despite best efforts to work things out or make allowances, and as difficult as it is, sometimes you have to do what’s best for everyone.”
During his 10-year run on “Happy Days” from 1974 to 1984, Anson earned a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actor. After its run, he went on to become a very successful TV director, helming episodes for dozens of shows including “Melrose Place,” “Beverly Hills, 90210,” the “Star Trek” TV franchises, “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” “Baywatch,” “Charmed,” “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and many more.
In 2019, he briefly returned to acting, subbing for close friend and “Happy Days” co-star Don Most (who played Ralph Malph) in a Delaware Theatre Company production of the Dan Clancy play “Middletown.” In an interview promoting the play, he told WHYY radio how happy he is that he and his old “Happy Days” co-stars have remained close since the show ended more than three decades ago. “It’s really unusual,” Anson said. “We’ve been through marriages, divorces, deaths, hard times, good times. It’s like we’re families that stay together through thick and thin for four decades. We’re all just a phone call away.”
Anson is also a successful businessman outside of Hollywood. He developed Alert Drops, an all-natural spray with lemon ingredients meant to help drowsy drivers stay awake. He got the idea for the product after he fell asleep at the wheel while driving home after a day of working on a show in a sweltering desert in the ’80s.
He was advised by his second cousin — Heimlich maneuver namesake Dr. Henry Heimlich — to carry lemon slices with him if he worried he’d fall asleep behind the wheel. “The citric acid in the lemon acts on the limbic nerve on the tip of the tongue, producing a reflex action that causes the body to release adrenaline and you’re instantly awake,” Anson explained to WHYY.