Henry Winkler: Wikis


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Henry Winkler

Winkler at the 2008 Fan Expo Canada
Born Henry Franklin Winkler
October 30, 1945 (1945-10-30) (age 64)
Manhattan, New York,
United States
Occupation Actor, director, producer, author
Years active 1972–present
Spouse(s) Stacey Weitzman (1978-present)

Henry Franklin Winkler, D.H.L. (born October 30, 1945) is an American actor, director, producer, and author.

Winkler is best known for his role as Fonzie on the 1970s American sitcom Happy Days. "The Fonz," a leather-clad greaser and auto mechanic, started out as a minor character at the show's beginning but had achieved top billing by the time the show ended.


Personal life

Henry Winkler was born in Manhattan, New York, the son of Ilse Anna Maria (née Hadra) and Harry Irving Winkler, a lumber company executive.[1] Winkler's Jewish parents immigrated from Germany to the United States in 1939, before the beginning of World War II.[2] Winkler attended the McBurney School and received his bachelor's degree from Emerson College in 1967 and his MFA from the Yale School of Drama in 1970. In 1978, Emerson gave Winkler an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Winkler has also received a Doctor of Humane Letters from Austin College.

Winkler has been married to Stacey Weitzman since May 5, 1978, and they have two children, Zoe and Max, and a stepson Jed from Stacey's previous marriage with Howard Weitzman.

Charitable works which he is involved with include Annual Cerebral Palsy Telethon, the Epilepsy Foundation, the annual Toys for Tots campaign, the National Committee for Arts for the Handicapped, and the Special Olympics.

An avid Yankees fan, Winkler announced the starting lineup on FOX for Game 5 of the World Series against the Phillies in 2009.


Winkler started acting by appearing in a number of television commercials. In October 1973, he was cast for the role of Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli, nicknamed The Fonz or Fonzie, in the TV show Happy Days. The show was first aired in January 1974. During his decade on Happy Days, Winkler also starred in a number of movies, including The Lords of Flatbush (1974), playing a troubled Vietnam veteran in Heroes (1977), The One and Only (1978), and a morgue attendant in Night Shift (1982), which was directed by Happy Days co-star Ron Howard. Winkler was also one of the hosts of the 1979 Music for UNICEF Concert.

For Happy Days, director/producer Garry Marshall originally had in mind a completely opposite physical presence. Marshall sought to cast an Italian model-type male in the role of Fonzie, intended as a stupid foil to the real star, Ron Howard. However, when Winkler, a Yale MFA student, interpreted the role in auditions, Marshall immediately snapped him up. According to Winkler, "The Fonz was everybody I wasn't. He was everybody I wanted to be."[3]

Winkler's character, though remaining very much a rough-hewn outsider, gradually became the focus of the show as time passed (in particular after the departure of Ron Howard). Initially, ABC executives did not want to see the Fonz wearing leather, thinking the character would appear to be a criminal. The first 13 episodes show Winkler wearing two different kinds of windbreaker jackets, one of which was green. As Winkler said in a TV Land interview, "It's hard to look cool in a green windbreaker". Marshall argued with the executives about the jacket. In the end, a compromise was made. Winkler could only wear the leather jacket in scenes with his motorcycle, and from that point on, the Fonz was never without his motorcycle.

After Happy Days, Winkler put his acting career on the back burner, as he began concentrating on producing and directing. He quickly worked on developing his own production company and, within months, he had opened Winkler-Rich Productions.

In 1979 Winkler appeared in the made-for-TV movie An American Christmas Carol, which was a modern remake of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. An American Christmas Carol was set in Concord, New Hampshire during the Great Depression. Winkler played the role of Benedict Slade, the Ebenezer Scrooge equivalent of that film. He produced several television shows including MacGyver, So Weird and Mr. Sunshine, Sightings, and the game shows Wintuition and Hollywood Squares (the latter from 2002–2004 only; occasionally serving as a sub-announcer). He also directed several movies including the Billy Crystal movie Memories of Me (1988) and Cop and a Half (1993) with Burt Reynolds.

Winkler, September 1990

As the 1990s continued, Winkler began a return to acting. in 1991, he starred in the controversial TV-movie Absolute Strangers, as a husband forced to make a decision regarding his comatose wife and his unborn baby. In 1994 he returned to TV with the short-lived comedy series Monty on Fox. Also in 1994, he co-starred with Katharine Hepburn in the holiday TV movie One Christmas, her last film.

He is good friends with horror movie director Wes Craven and played an uncredited role as a high school principal in Craven's 1996 movie Scream (1996). In 1998, Adam Sandler asked Winkler to play a college football coach, a supporting role in The Waterboy (1998). He would later appear in three other Sandler films, Little Nicky (2000) where he plays himself and is covered in bees, Click (2006, as the main character's father), and You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008), again playing himself. He also played small roles in movies such as Down to You (2000), Holes (2003), and I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007).

Winkler recently had a recurring role as incompetent lawyer Barry Zuckerkorn in the Fox Television comedy Arrested Development. In one episode, his character hopped over a dead shark lying on a pier, a reference to his role in the origin of the phrase "jumping the shark". After that episode, Winkler in interviews stated that he was the only person to have "jumped the shark" twice.

When Winkler moved to CBS for one season to star in 2005–06's Out of Practice, his role as the Bluth family lawyer on Arrested Development was taken over by Happy Days co-star Scott Baio in the fall of 2005, shortly before the acclaimed but Nielsen-challenged show ceased production.

Winkler has guest-starred on television series such as Numb3rs, South Park, The Practice, The Simpsons (playing a member of a biker gang. In one scene, he calls Marge "Mrs. S", a reference to Fonzie calling "Happy Days" matriarch Marion Cunningham "Mrs. C"), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Third Watch, Arrested Development, Crossing Jordan, Family Guy and King of the Hill. The Weezer video for 1994's "Buddy Holly" edited period footage of Henry Winkler as the Fonz, as well as a double shot from behind to create the illusion that Fonzie and other characters were watching Weezer as they performed in Arnold's restaurant.

Winkler's most recent appearances were on KTTV's Good Day L.A.. One time when substituting for Steve Edwards, Winkler reunited with fellow Happy Days cast member Marion Ross. Winkler made a cameo appearance in the band Say Anything's video for "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too". Winkler has also made critically-acclaimed guest appearances on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.[citation needed]

A close friend to actor John Ritter, the two led a Broadway ensemble cast in Neil Simon's The Dinner Party in 2000. Winkler was reunited as a guest star on Ritter's sitcom 8 Simple Rules (for Dating my Teenage Daughter) in 2003 by Ritter's request. Ritter became ill during filming, and unexpectedly died. A stunned, grief-stricken Winkler was interviewed by Mary Hart of Entertainment Tonight and various other entertainment news sources, and served as a soothing voice and champion of John's talent in September 2003.

Since 2003, Winkler has collaborated with Lin Oliver on a series of children's books about a 4th grade boy, Hank Zipzer, who is dyslexic. Winkler also has the learning disability, and said this was an unhappy[4] part of his childhood. Winkler has published 16 books about his hero Zipzer, the "world's greatest underachiever."[5]

In July 2008 Henry joined First News[6] on their annual Reading Tour of schools where he read excerpts from his Hank Zipzer books

In October 2008, Winkler appeared in a video on funnyordie.com with Ron Howard, reprising their roles as Fonzie and Richie Cunningham, encouraging people to vote for Barack Obama. The video entitled "Ron Howard’s Call to Action"[7] also features Andy Griffith.

Winkler appeared in his first pantomime at the New Wimbledon Theatre, London in 2006, playing Captain Hook in Peter Pan, replacing David Hasselhoff who pulled out when he was offered a TV role by Simon Cowell. He reprised the role in Woking, England for Christmas 2007. For the 2008/2009 season he played Captain Hook at the Milton Keynes Theatre and will don the hook once again for the 2009/2010 panto season at the Liverpool Empire with Les Dennis and Natasha Hamilton also in the cast. Recently, he played the role of Judge Newman in Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh.

In 2009, Winkler provided the voice of Willard Deutschebog, a suicidal German teacher, in the Fox comedy series, Sit Down, Shut Up.[8]

Honors and awards

  • In 1996, Winkler was selected to be the Class Day speaker at Yale University, an honor usually accorded to distinguished Yale alumni.
  • On August 3, 2008, Winkler was chosen to be the guest conductor at the Boston Pops by the Sea Concert in Hyannis, Massachusetts.
  • On August 19, 2008, Milwaukeeans paid homage to their hometown hero and unveiled a life-sized, bronze statue of Fonzie along the Milwaukee Riverwalk.[9]
Golden Globe Awards
Primetime Emmy Awards


See also


External links

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