The phrase was coined after Henry Winkler's iconic episode of Happy Days in 1977 — and he did it again years later on Arrested Development

By Aurelie Corinthios
January 27, 2019 07:36 PM

No one jumps the shark quite like Henry Winkler.

Speaking to PeopleTV during the 2019 SAG Awards‘ official pre-show on Sunday, the Barry star reminisced about the famous 1977 episode of Happy Days, in which Winkler, as the iconic Fonzie, donned a pair of water skis and jumped over a shark in a display of bravado.

With that, a new idiom was born and “jumping the shark” is now used to define the moment when something successful begins to go downhill. (Some critics argued that the gimmick was a turning point for Happy Days and that it marked when the sitcom had begun to lose its touch.)

“I jumped the shark in Hollywood. A young man named John Hein was sitting at Michigan University and came up with the phrase,” Winkler, 73, told PeopleTV on Sunday, referring to the radio host who went on to create a website called JumpTheShark.com.

  • The official pre-show, People, Entertainment Weekly and TNT Red Carpet Live: 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards, will livestream beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT on PEOPLE.com, EW.com, tntdrama.com/sag-awards and sagawards.org, in addition to being broadcast live in Times Square.

But that wasn’t Winkler’s last shark-jump: Over two decades later, the actor did it again when his Arrested Development character Barry Zuckerkorn encountered a dead shark lying on a pier and hopped over it.

“Can I just say this, because I’m very proud? I’m the only actor in the world who has jumped the shark twice,” Winkler said. “They put a shark on the dock and I hopped over it to get a soda.”

Winkler is nominated for best male actor in a comedy series for his work on Barry. He’s up against his costar Bill Hader, The Kominsky Method‘s Alan Arkin and Michael Douglas, plus Tony Shalhoub from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

The SAG Awards, hosted by Megan Mullally, are being presented live from the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles at 8 p.m. ET on both TBS and TNT.