How Hallmark's Danica McKellar Almost Lost The Role Of The Wonder Years' Winnie Cooper To Her Sister

"The Wonder Years" is one television show that hit home for both kids and adults. Set in the 1960s, the series followed Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage), a young boy dealing with normal teenage struggles such as school, family, and his huge crush on the girl next door, Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar). Kevin and Winnie's lives were also influenced by their parents' relationships and the Vietnam War. The series premiered in 1988 when McKellar was just 13 years old, and the character of Winnie Cooper became a huge favorite among younger viewers. However, McKellar nearly lost out on the part of Winnie to her own sister.

Winnie Cooper was the sweet and innocent girl that lost her brother in combat. She went from looking like a child to having a more mature look at the beginning of the series, which caught the attention of Kevin and several other boys at their school. Kevin and Winnie's friendship and relationship had many ups and downs throughout the series, but viewers continued to root for their young love to prevail. The series ended in 1993, with an older version of Kevin revealing what became of his entire family, as well as his romance with Winnie, which like many other young love stories, didn't survive.

It's hard to picture anyone besides McKellar in the role. However, the actor said she ultimately won the role due to her chemistry with Savage.

Crystal and Danica McKellar battled for the role of Winnie Cooper

During an interview with TV Insider, Danica McKellar recalled how she landed the role of Winnie Cooper on "The Wonder Years." The actor revealed that the part was supposed to be just a one-episode role, which is something her mother had a strict rule about. "My mother had a rule. This was going to be a hobby only. No series regular auditions, and no auditions for feature films that would take us out of town," she recalled. However, after getting the part, the character of Winnie ended up being a series regular, which skyrocketed Danica's career.

McKellar admitted that both she and her sister Crystal McKellar read for the role of Winnie and were subjected to several rounds of auditioning before they were the only two girls left. They were both asked to read with Fred Savage, and it was Danica that the showrunners chose for the part. "Four days into shooting, the producers approached my mom and said, 'We think that Danica and Fred have this amazing chemistry. We want to offer her a series regular role. The network has approved it,'" she explained. "My mom was like, 'Oh, we don't do that.' I was like, 'Please, please please!'"

However, Crystal wasn't left out in the cold. The producers liked her so much that they wrote a role just for her.

Crystal McKellar played the role of Becky Slater

Although Danica McKellar was hired for the part of Winnie Cooper on "The Wonder Years," her sister Crystal McKellar also became a big part of the show, playing the role of Becky Slater in several episodes. "Ultimately, they chose me, but they said, 'We love Crystal so much, we're going to write a role for her.' And they did," Danica told TV Insider. "She played Becky Slater, the little blonde nemesis of Fred Savage for a while. They dated for a little while, then they were enemies. We got to do some scenes together, and it was amazing."

Fans of the show may remember that Kevin started dating Becky to make Winnie jealous and they eventually began going steady. However, after Kevin's true motives were revealed, Becky was out for revenge and made it her goal to punish Kevin for treating her poorly. The two became enemies, and Kevin never forgot the pain that he caused Becky as the years went on.

In real life, Crystal went on to become an attorney, while Danica studied at UCLA and, in addition to acting, became a mathematician. She's even written her own series of books to teach math to children under the brand McKellar Math.