His film resume is filled with plenty of legendary roles, but it didn’t come easy for Henry Winkler, who reveals that he almost gave up on acting after a terrible audition — that is until William Shatner stepped in.

The 73-year-old recently sat down with People and discussed the 180 his career almost took following what he calls his worst audition. “I tried out for a movie, that is a book, about a young man who goes between this world and greek gods,” the actor explained. “It’s a famous book, but it was so bad I’ve forgotten.”

He continued, “I don’t know what happened, but it was so bad I thought ‘I have to give up. This is the end. This is terrible.’ I was horrible. I was like poop at the bottom of the ocean coming from a whale. Really, really bad.”

Henry Winkler
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But it was thanks to the Star Trek: The Original Series actor, 68, that the Happy Days alum was able to stay the course. “Bill talked me down. He gave me advice, he made me feel better,” the Barry costar revealed.

And it seems like those words were enough to motivate Henry, as he recalled, “All of a sudden my head flew back. I got up, I got into my car and I could actually push the gas pedal.” He added, “And then I traveled all over the world with him.”

William Shatner Henry Winkler
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Henry, a Golden Globes winner, once revealed that his early acting days were quite unstable. “I had no sense of the future — I only had tenacity,” he said. “I saw the beginning of my career as a little pine tree, and I was the forest ranger whose job it was to water that tree every day. I knew I didn’t want to be a flash in the pan.”

Well we’re very happy he stayed the course, because things turned out pretty well for Henry.