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Henry Winkler as Andy Schmidt in
Henry Winkler in Numb3ers
Henry Winkler in Scream
Winkler with Nick Roth & Laura Jordan in Berkeley
Henry Winkler as a young, and an old, Benedict Slade in An American Christmas Carol
I met Henry Winkler in June 2012 when he visited W H Smith's in Nottingham for the launch of his new 'Ghost Buddy' book Zero to Hero. I bought a copy which Henry signed for me. He also signed my photograph of him as 'The Fonz'.
Henry Winkler's latest film is the action comedy Here Comes the Boom (2012) in which he stars as Marty, a schoolteacher. His co-stars are Kevin James & Salma Hayek.
Henry Franklin Winkler was born in Manhattan, New York in 1945. His German Jewish parents emigrated to the USA in 1939, and both became executives of an international lumber company. Henry has an older sister Bea (b. 1940).
Henry went to McBurney's School for Boys in New York, where he developed a keen interest in drama and later set his sights on becoming an actor. He struggled with academic work but it wasn't until 1976 (when he was 31 years old) that he discovered he was dyslexic! He later recalls, "When I was growing up in New YorkC
Henry Winkler as a boy
York City, no one knew what dyslexia was. I was called stupid and lazy, and I was told that I was not living up to my potential. It was, without a doubt, painful. I spent most of my time covering up the fact thatre
that reading, writing, spelling, math, science - actually, every subject but lunch - was really, really difficult for me."
He moved to Emerson College in 1967 from where he received a bachelor's degree, and then studied acting at the Yale School of Drama. At Yale, Winkler devoted his time to performing, often rehearsing one play by day and performing in another by night. He left there in 1970 with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in acting, and moved back to New York to make his mark on Broadway.
Henry Winkler & Sylvester Stallone in
The Lords of Flatbush
Henry Winkler as 'The Fonz'
In 1973, Winkler moved to Los Angeles to try his hand at television.take his shot at a career in television.Within a fortnight he won a part on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Winkler as Arthur 'Fonzie' Fonzarelli
Show and followed it with a bigger role on The Bob Newhart Show. Winkler quickly became homesick for New York and decided to move back.
Henry Winkler & Ron Howard in Happy Days
in Happy Days
Before packing his bags he went on one last audition, for the role of a biker in producer Garry Marshall's new 1950s nostalgia TV series, Happy Days which would eventually
eventually run for 255 episodes on ABC, over a ten-year
year period. Marshall was originally looking for a big hunky Italian for the part, but Winkler's audition changed his mind.
Winkler made his television debut as Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli in Happy Days in January 1974. As a high school dropout and a 'greaser', his character was rarely seen in the first few episodes because the network was afraid he would be identified as a thug. Nevertheless, audiences loved the character, and Winkler began receiving top billing alongside Ron Howard. HenryWinkler
Henry Winkler & Al Molinari in Happy Days
'The Fonz' model kit
'Fonzie for President' badge
Henry Winkler soon became a household name as 'Fonzie Fever' swept the nation. 'The Fonz' became a major 1970s icon, and Winkler's performances won him two Golden Globe Awards in the 'Best TV Actor - Musical/Comedy' category, as well as three Emmy nominations (in 1976, 1977 and 1978) for 'Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series' .
The Lords of Flatbush
Henry Winkler as Butchey Weinstein in
Winkler worked on other things during his decade on Happy Days. He had his first taste in front of the film camera in Crazy Joe (1974), and was also cast as Butchey Weinstein, aBrooklyn
a Brooklyn mobster in The Lords of Flatbush (1974) alongside the then-unknown Sylvester Stallone.
Peter Boyle, Henry Winkler & Fred Williamson
in Crazy Joe
Winkler's other film roles at this time included portraying Vietnam veteran Jack Dunne in Heroes (1977); college boy Andy Schmidt in the romantic comedy about wrestling The One
One and Only (1978) and morgue attendant Chuck Lumley in Ron Howard’s Night Shift (1982), for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe for 'Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical'.
Sally Field & Henry Winkler in Heroes
Henry Winkler & Michael Keating in Night Shift
As Chuck Lumley in Night Shift
The One and Only
Winkler also appeared in the TV movie tribute to the composer Richard Rodgers The Sound of His Music (1976), playing Lorenz Hart alongside Gene Kelly as Oscar Hammerstein II.
Henry Winkler & Gene Kelly in
The Sound of his Music
Henry Winkler provided the voice of his Fonzie character for the cartoon series Laverne & Shirley (1976-79), the Saturday morning cartoon
cartoon Fonz and the Happy Days Gang (1980) and the series Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour (1982), all Hanna-Barbera productions. He starred in the ABC children’s educational special Henry Winkler Meets William Shakespeare (1977), and also played the lead role of Benedict Slade in the TV movie An American Christmas Carol (1979).
Fonz and the Happy Days Gang
After Happy Days ended in 1984, Winkler focussed more on directing and producing. The first TV Movie he directed was Dolly Parton’s A Smokey Mountain Christmas (1986)
Laverne & Shirley cartoon
(1986) and his first feature film as a director was the comedy drama Memories of Me (1988), which
which starred Billy Crystal. Other later directing successes included the film Cop and ½ (1993) starring Burt Reynolds; two episodes each of the comedy series Clueless (1996) and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (2000).
As a producer, Winkler won a Genesis Award for 'Best TV Drama' in 1991 for the 95 episode TV series MacGyver (1985-92). Other notable TV series that he produced included Dead Man's Gun (1997-98), So Weird (1999-2000) and Unexplained Mysteries (2003). He later produced reunion 'specials' for several classic series including Dallas (2004), Happy Days (2005), Knots Landing (2005) and Dynasty (2006).
Henry Winkler in Henry Winkler
Meets William Shakespeare
During the late-1990s as an actor, Winkler proved himself popular with younger
younger audiences in hit movies such as The Waterboy (1998), and on TV shows like The Practice (1999-2000) and Arrested Development (2003-2005).
Henry Winkler & Adam Sandler in
As Johnny Bernstein in The Kid & I
Winkler continued to act, and over the past decade has had roles in films like Berkeley (2005); The Kid & I (2005); The King of Central
Central Park (2006); Unbeatable Harold (2006); Click (2006);
(2006); A Plumm Summer (2007); Running Mates (2011) and Here Comes the Boom (2012).
On TV he had a 6-episode run as Dr. Stewart Barnes in the series Out of Practice (2005-2006) and a 13-episode
episode run voicing Willard Deutschebog, the suicidal German teacher in the cartoon series Sit Down Shut Up (2009). He played Roger
With Armen Weitzman in The King of Central Park
Roger Bloom in three episodes of the crime series Numb3rs in 2009; Dr Sy Mittleman in 23 episodes of the spoof medical comedy TV series Children's Hospital (2010-2012); Professor
As Eddie R Lawson in Royal Pains
With Gordon Michaels in Unbeatable Harold
Professor Nathaniel Nib in 7 episodes of the animation adventure Hero Factory (2010-12) and Eddie R Lawson in 15 episodes of the hospital drama Royal Pains (2010-12).
Henry Winkler & Adam Sandler in Click
As Happy Herb in A Plumm Summer
With Stockard Channing in Out of Practice
He won a Daytime Emmy for 'Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program' for his work in the TV family comedy series Clifford’s Puppy Days (2003-05) where he voiced Norville the bird.
Henry Winkler as Burton in Group Sex
With Kevin James in Here Comes the Boom
Since 2002 when they met for lunch, Henry Winkler has collaborated with author Lin Oliver on a series of children's books about a 4th grade boy, Hank Zipzer who, like Winkler
Winkler, is dyslexic. The books were inspired by Winkler's own life experiences, and these stories about 'the world's greatest underachiever' deal with learning difficulties in a gentle and humorous manner. "It usually takes about 2 months to write the first draft of a book. Lin and I meet in her office, create the outline for the story of the book and then, two months later, we have 153 pages of a Hank Zipzer adventure." 17 books in the series have been produced so far.
Lin Oliver & Henry Winkler
Winkler regularly visits schools in both America and the UK, where he talks about dyslexia and then reads extracts from some of his Zipzer books.
Some of the books in Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver's Hank Zipzer series
Another series for 7-11 year olds is Ghost Buddy, about a boy called Billy Broccoli who has a ghost called Hoover Porterhouse (aka the Hoove) to help him with life's problems. There are two books in this series so farrrrrrrr
Another Henry Winkler book, I've Never Met an Idiot on the River, was published in 2011. It is a collection of his own photographs and reflections drawn from his love of fly fishing and life with his family.
far (Zero to Hero and Mind if I Read Your Mind?) with more to follow.
Henry Winkler has signed my copy of his
'Ghost Buddy' book Zero to Hero
These days, Henry Winkler is a frequent visitor to the UK. He appeared in his first pantomime playing Captain Hook in Peter Pan at the New Wimbledon Theatre, London in 2006, and reprised the role in Woking the following year. For the 2008-09 season he played Captain Hook at the Milton Keynes Theatre and yet again for the 2009-2010 season at the Liverpool Empire.
In 1978, Henry Winkler married Stacey Weitzman, who worked on Saturday Night Live, and they have two children, Zoe (b. 1980) & Max (b. 1983) and a stepson, Jed, from Stacey's previous marriage to Howard Weitzman.
Henry Winkler as Captain Hook
Both he and his wife actively participate in numerous children’s charities.
Stacey Weitzman & Henry Winkler
Henry Winkler was awarded an honorary OBE in 2011 for his educational work on dyslexia in the UK. He received the honour at the British Embassy in Washington DC.
Henry Winkler with his son Max
Henry Winkler OBE
Henry Winkler has signed this photo of him as 'Fonzie' to me
The Fonz cookie jar
Happy Days (Season 2 Episode 11)