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‘Happy Days’ star Anson Williams found ‘selfless’ love in his 70s: 'An undefinable chemistry'
March 01 2024, 08:00

"Happy Days" star Anson Williams opened up about finding true love in his later years.

The 73-year-old actor married writer and real estate broker Sharon Scott Williams, née MaHarry, 65, in May 2023 at their home in Ojai, California. The pair recently collaborated on a one-woman stage play based on Sharon's book "Crazy Mama: A Memoir of Love and Madness."

During an interview with Fox News Digital, Williams recalled how he and Sharon first met while they were both married, lost touch and reconnected again more than a decade later.


"It's a very interesting story," Williams said. "I bought my Ojai house, almost 14 years ago, and at the time, Sharon was in real estate, and she sold it to me and to my wife at the time."

 He continued, "And, years later, I mean, years later, when I was divorced and went through all that, and I ended up with the Ojai house."

Williams filed for divorce from his second wife, Jackie Gerken, in September 2019, but requested a dismissal of the divorce filing the following month. The TV star filed for divorce from Gerken again in June 2020. The former couple were married for 32 years and share daughters Olivia Jean and Gabriella Rose, both 20, and Stella Rayne, 15.

WATCH: ‘Happy Days’ star Anson Williams shares how he found true love in his 70s with wife Sharon

In the aftermath of his divorce and following an earlier battle with colon cancer, Williams said that he found himself in a low place and began thinking again of the woman he had met years earlier.

 "She never left my mind," Williams said of Sharon. "Always kind of there. And I was up here all alone and just, you know, not in a great — not a great place. And I just called one day."

"I didn't know her situation, but it turned out her husband had passed and all this went on. And so I asked her to lunch, and we've been together since that lunch," he said.

"But here's what's funny," Williams continued. "We're having lunch and it's been years. And she's sitting down at a table. I sit down and we have a three-hour lunch. And I mean, just an amazing three hours crying and just such, such a connected experience."

 "And finally we say, you know, ‘We got to go. We got to — you know — and she goes, ’Yeah, yeah. Can you please hand me my crutches?' I go, ‘Excuse me?' It turned out that she had taken a fall, a bad fall down the stairs, was in the hospital for a month, had all this corrective surgery on her knee and was one day out of the wheelchair," he recalled.

WATCH: ‘Happy Days’ star Anson Williams says he and wife Sharon have ‘an undefinable chemistry’

"So I help her out. And she had this challenge of going to a writer's retreat in Italy in not that much time, like maybe six weeks. And so the challenge was getting her to walk well enough to be able to walk on the cobblestones of Italy and get to that retreat."

"And we did it," he said. "So the whole beginning of our relationship was giving and caring and, it's just progressed from there into such a — just a monumental relationship and now a creative partner."

In July 2023, Sharon told People magazine that prior to reconnecting with Williams, she had given up hope of finding love again after losing her husband of 35 years to a long-term illness. 

"I just thought this was it. I’m a widow, this is who I am now," she recalled. 

"I wrote kind of a synopsis of where I was when I met Anson," Sharon said. "I've never been in such a dark place. And he completely turned that around. It was like a gift from God that I met him."

Sharon recalled that she agreed to accept Williams' lunch date invitation at the encouragement of her daughter. She told the outlet that receiving her daughter's blessing "absolutely freed me to take advantage of this, whatever it was," 

"And I wasn't sure what it was at that moment, but what a beautiful gift she gave me," Sharon added.

During his interview with Fox News Digital, Williams reflected on how he and Sharon had changed each other's lives. He compared their connection to the chemistry that he shared with his former "Happy Days" castmates.

"Selfless love goes a long way," he said. "It reminds me a little bit of ‘Happy Days.’ It's an undefinable chemistry,"

"And someone who always sees the best in you. Boy, that changes you. When someone sees the best in you, you work — you make sure you're going to stay the best."

"When someone sees the worst in you, you're always — you're always scratching to get air," he continued. You know what I mean?"

"It's just you don't grow," Williams explained. "You don't get better, you know? And when you have someone that really loves you and sees the best in you, you just grow. You grow. You grow as a human being. And it's like breaking through the clouds to the blue sky. And it's like that every day. Every day."

"That makes a relationship," he added. "And teamwork too."


The California native's "Happy Days" co-star and close friend Don Most served as the best man during Williams and Sharon's wedding, which took place in the backyard of the home that the bride first sold to the groom in 2010.

Williams recalled how he was touched by the speech that Most gave in honor of the newlyweds during their nuptials.

"Just a wonderful, heartfelt, you know, bro speak, brother," he told Fox News Digital. "Just so happy for me. So happy for us."

"I mean, who would have known that we'd be together? Together as a team doing a play, ‘Crazy Mama,’"he said. "It's such a great team and I mean, the love of your life and you're able to work together? And to be able to take this award-winning writer and do something so important for her life." 

Williams continued, "You know, for her, it's a wonderful opportunity to let go too and express and to help through her life experience with humor and brilliant writing, helping other families get through hard situations."

Starring two-time Emmy Award nominee Lee Purcell, "Crazy Mama" is a one-woman play with musical accompaniment that is based on Sharon's memoir "Crazy Mama, A Memoir of Love and Madness." The book was the winner of the 2014 Southwest Writers Competition, and won the Santa Barbara Writers Conference Fiction Award, per Sharon's website.

The play chronicles the "soul-crushing grip of her mother’s mental illness, the steely resilience of the human heart, and how, by the grace of some invisible power, Sharon’s dream to get her real Mama back comes true," according to a press release.

"Crazy Mama" will be staged April 12-14 at the Theater of The Museum at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, New York.

WATCH: Anson Williams recalls ‘Happy Days’ co-star Don Most's best man speech at his wedding

During his interview with Fox News Digital, Williams recalled how he and Sharon decided to adapt her memoir into a one-woman show.

"[Sharon] is a fabulous writer, and she wrote short memoirs about her life, growing up with a schizophrenic mother who had a total breakdown when she was eight-years-old," Williams said. "And she did it with gut-wrenching moments, humor, really, really connected with everyone who read it and made mental illness a real tactile, embraceable situation."

He continued, "And she won awards, major awards. And I thought to myself, 'You know, this is a one-woman show. This is a play."

"I said it would be sensational and also entertaining, educational, opening doors to reconnect and at the same time really bringing focus to the problem of mental illness."


Sharon adapted her memoir into the play, which Williams is directing. The Golden Globe nominee is an experienced television director whose credits include helming episodes of "Melrose Place, "Beverly Hills, 90210," "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," "Lizzie McGuire" and "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" and a number of TV movies.

While speaking with Fox News Digital, Williams shared his thoughts on the most challenging aspects of directing "Crazy Mama."

"Well, it's funny, I started in theater years ago before directing film and so for years now, decades, I've been directing mostly television and going back to theater is exciting," he said. 

Williams continued, "But what's really challenging about this is it's a one-woman show with a blues guitar player. So the simplicity of it is challenging and it's all performance."

He went on to praise the play's star Purcell as a "fabulous actress."

"She's memorizing an hour and a half of material, playing about 18 different characters," he said. "And she's sensational. She's sensational, and we're very, very lucky. But really, the challenge is not getting in the way of it. Not over directing it, simplifying it, keeping it focused toward the audience."

"And it's going just fantastic," Williams continued. "And I just can't wait for people to come out there and see this show. It literally is the best script I've ever been part of. It's so important and so entertaining and just will be a memorable experience for everyone in that audience."

"Also, I'll be there at every show and sign autographs, talk to people, whatever. You know, whatever I can bring to the show. But it's going to be just a memorable show and a memorable opening for the Theater for Bethel Woods."

Williams also shared his thoughts on what he hopes audiences will take away from watching "Crazy Mama."

"I want them to take away the importance of family, the importance of education, the importance of embracing a problem, not running away from it," he said. "And also what's wonderful about ‘Crazy Mama’ is it took four years, but she gets her mother back. And, it's a very much a rocky ending."

He continued, "And I want people to feel closer together when they leave the theater than when they came in. I want them to embrace their family, embrace their friends, reprioritize their lives, and also get involved with mental illness."  

"The way to correct this is in a very tactile, human way. Everybody has some kind of problem, which is so interesting," Williams added. "No, not every mother had a psychotic breakdown. But everyone has some problems someway connected with that audience in so many different ways. Positively, it opened them up again. They're not alone. And the one thing the show gives people, the one word is hope. It really does. It gives people hope."

The actor shared that he becomes emotional every time he watches the play.

"I can't get through without crying, and I cry hopeful tears, I cry. It brings me back to my life, my problems growing up. And it actually softens problems because my parents aren't there anymore," he said.

Williams continued, "But what it did, it brought me back. And so much I was holding in, I let out, I went, ‘Oh my God, I was wrong.’ I embraced it now from afar. It really soothed my feelings. You know, it stopped so many wrongful memories with understanding of the situation."

"The play does that for every single audience member. They walk out of there again, feeling closer and having hope and commitment to facing their problems together."

Tickets for "Crazy Mama" are on sale now and can be purchased here: