Better Late Than Never
Henry Winkler has enjoyed four decades of success in Hollywood and continues to be in demand as an actor, producer and director.
A 1973 audition in Los Angeles forever changed the life of the Yale School of Drama graduate, when producer Garry Marshall and Tom Miller cast Winkler in the iconic role of Arthur Fonzarelli, aka "The Fonz," in the TV series "Happy Days." During his 10 years on the popular sitcom, he won two Golden Globe Awards, was nominated three times for an Emmy Award and was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Both his famous leather jacket and Fonzie's lunch box became part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum in 1980.
In recent years, Winkler appeared in a number of series, including "Children's Hospital," "Royal Pains," "Parks and Recreation" and "Arrested Development." In the spring of 2018, he will co-star in "Barry," a new HBO comedy series starring Bill Hader.
His guest role on the ABC series "The Practice" earned him an Emmy Award nomination and he also starred in the CBS sitcom "Out of Practice." He guest-starred on "Numb3rs," "The Bob Newhart Show," "Third Watch," "Crossing Jordan" and "Law and Order: SVU," along with the Hallmark Channel holiday movie "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year." He lent his voice to such shows as "All Hail King Julien" on Netflix, "South Park," "King of the Hill," "Family Guy," "The Simpsons" and "Clifford: The Puppy Days," for which he received an Emmy Award.
On the big screen, Winkler starred in "Night Shift," "Here Comes the Boom," "The Waterboy," "Click," "The Lords of Flatbush," "Heroes," "Holes" and "Scream."
Behind the scenes, he has also made his mark as a producer and director. Winkler has executive produced or produced TV series and specials for 19 years, including "MacGyver," "So Weird," "Mr. Sunshine," "Sightings," "A Family Again," "All the Kids Do It" (which won him an Emmy Award), "Ryan's Four," "Scandal Sheet" and the ABC documentary "Who Are the DeBolts and Where Did They Get Nineteen Kids?" which won the prestigious Humanitas Prize.
He also directed several movies, including "Memories of Me," starring Billy Crystal and the late Alan King, and "Cop and a Half," starring Burt Reynolds. On stage, Winkler has appeared on Broadway in Neil Simon's "The Dinner Party" alongside the late John Ritter and "The Performers."
Winkler has always been concerned about the quality of children's television programming. He has produced countless worthwhile projects for a young audience, including "Happily Ever After" for PBS and its sequel, "Two Daddies to Love Me." Additional specials include "Run, Don't Walk," and "All the Kids Do It," which was about teenage drunk driving and was directed by Winkler.
As an author, his first book, "Niagara Falls or Does It? Hank Zipzer the World's Greatest Underachiever," became a best seller. The books were inspired by Winkler's struggle throughout his education due to his learning challenges.
To date, he and his co-author, Lin Oliver, have written 34 children's novels. Their latest is "HERE'S HANK: Hooray! My Butt Left the Bench." All 34 are in bookstores across the United States and have been published around the world in seven languages, with more than 4 million copies sold.
Winkler has always believed in helping others and is especially passionate about children.
He has been a featured speaker at WE Day Celebrations promoting education and service for students. His work also includes Honorary Chairman of United Friends of the Children; Founding Member of the Children's Action Network; the first National Honorary Chairman of the Epilepsy Foundation of America; National Chairman of the annual Toys for Tots campaign; the National Committee for Arts for the Handicapped; the Special Olympics; and the Los Angeles Music Center's Very Special Arts Festival for children who are physically challenged. He has also participated in numerous teenage alcohol and drug abuse programs.
He has received a number of accolades from a variety of prestigious organizations, including B'nai B'rith, the Peace Prize by the United Nations and Women in Film's Norma Zarky Humanitarian Award, presented to both Henry and his wife, Stacey, for their tireless efforts and devotion to the "improvement of the human condition."
He also received the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Artes et Lettres, the French government's highest honor. In addition, Winkler was one of 10 individuals honored by AARP with their 2010 Inspire Award. In 2011, he was awarded the Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) from the Queen of England in recognition of his services to children with dyslexia and special education needs.
Of all the titles he has received, the ones he relishes most are husband, father and grandfather. Winkler and his wife have three children, Jed, Zoe and Max, and five grandchildren. They reside in Los Angeles.