Reviewed by David M. Kinchen

News flash to "Happy Days" fans: Potsie is 65! Actually, Anson Williams, who played Warren "Potsie" Weber  on the popular TV show turned 65 on Sept. 25. Happy Belated Birthday to my fellow Libra!

In his memoir, "Singing to a Bulldog: From 'Happy Days' to Hollywood Director, and the Unlikely Mentor Who Got Me There" (Readers Digest Books, 176 pages, $14.99, also available as a Kindle ebook) young Anson William Heimlich showed very little promise growing up in 1950s California. 

BOOK REVIEW: 'Singing to a Bulldog': Anson Williams (AKA Potsie Weber) Writes About an Unlikely Mentor Who Kept Him on Path to Show Business Career

 

He was clumsy, unsure of himself, and made to feel like a failure by his disappointed artist of a dad, Anson started working odd jobs as a teenager to help support his family. His boss at one of these jobs, an aging African-American janitor in a Burbank, CA department store named Willie Turner, unexpectedly became a mentor—and the lessons he taught young Anson proved to be invaluable throughout his subsequent career as an actor, director, and entrepreneur.

Anson is a second cousin to the famous Dr. Harry Heimlich, who invented the Heimlich maneuver for treating choking victims.

In "Singing to a Bulldog", Anson Williams relates both these lessons and the never-before-revealed stories of the many seminal TV series he has worked on and the famous (and not-so-famous) folks he’s encountered during his 40 years in Hollywood, including:

 • Being directed by Steven Spielberg in his first dramatic role 

 

• Getting kidnapped by Gerald Ford’s daughter at the White House

 

• Subbing for Sammy Davis Jr., as a headliner with Bill Cosby

 

• Being humbled by Sunny, a young volunteer for the Cerebral Palsy National Organization 

 

• Mentoring Shailene Woodley on the set of "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" -- and many more.

Regular readers of my reviews know my views on memoirs (I review many of them but think the majority should be shelved with fiction in the bookstores that still are open). I'll make an exception for this one, just as I did for the Norman Lear one I recently reviewed (www.huntingtonnews.net/98337).

"Singing to a Bulldog" should appeal to readers looking for the inside dope of show business -- and for those who wonder what it takes to succeed in show business. There are many ways and Williams describes his career path, which lead him to become a successful entrepreneur, as well as a successful director.

Anson Williams
Anson Williams

About the Author

Best known for his Golden Globe nominated role as Warren “Potsie” Weber on the series Happy Days, Anson Williams is also an award-winning television director and writer as well as a singer and producer. He has directed more than 300 hours of television for a variety of series, including Beverly Hills, 90210, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. He won the prized Humanitas Award for his writing, has been honored by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and served on the board of the USO. Together with business partner JoAnna Connell, he founded StarMaker Products, an international product company. He lives with his wife and five daughters in Los Angeles.