Henry Winkler

Henry Winkler was an Emmy Award-winning American actor who was best known for playing the thumb-gesturing, leather-jacket wearing icon of cool, Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli, on the long-running sitcom "Happy Days" (ABC, 1974-1984). Born and raised in Manhattan, Winkler suffered from undiagnosed dyslexia as a child, which caused him to struggle with his schoolwork. Still, with hard work and determination, he was able to graduate from high school and go on to earn his B.A. from Emerson College in 1967. Three years later he would earn his MFA in acting from the Yale School of Drama. Winkler's prime ambition in life had always been to become a professional actor, so after graduating from Yale he returned to his hometown of New York City to embark on his fledgling career. He began appearing in numerous plays during the 1970s, and made a living by appearing in TV commercials. In one year alone Winkler appeared in over 30 ads. Winkler continued this path of working commercial actor and moonlighting theater actor for a few years in New York before landing his first big movie role. The film was called "Lords of Flatbush" (1974), and in it Winkler played a leather jacket wearing '50s greaser, a role that carried many similarities to Fonzie. It was in January of 1974, when Winkler debuted the role of Fonzie on "Happy Days," that his life would forever change. Fonzie quickly became the breakout character on the hit show, which lasted for 11 seasons on ABC. Fonzie became an icon of American pop culture as the epitome of coolness. Between seasons, Winkler expanded his range by starring in films such as Vietnam veteran drama "Heroes" (1977) and wrestling comedy "The One and Only" (1978). His highest-profile film role during this period came with the comedy "Night Shift" (1982), directed by his former "Happy Days" co-star Ron Howard, in which Winkler played a morgue attendant who begins running a prostitution ring with his new co-worker, played by Michael Keaton in his breakout role. After "Happy Days" ended its run in 1984 Winkler began turning his attention to producing and directing. He directed a number of movies and TV shows during the brief foray behind the camera, including "Memories of Me" (1988), "Cop & ½" (1993), and episodes of the TV series "Clueless" (ABC/UPN, 1996-99). By the late 90s, however, Winkler began acting more consistently. Over the next two decades he was introduced to younger audiences with roles in Adam Sandler comedies like "The Waterboy" (1998), "Little Nicky" (2000), and "Click" (2006), as well as recurring parts on the comedy shows "Parks and Recreation" (NBC, 2009-2015), "Childrens Hospital" (Adult Swim, 2008-2016), and Arrested Development" (Fox/Netflix, 2003- ), on which he played incompetent attorney Barry Zuckerkorn. In 2018 Winkler began appearing alongside Bill Hader on the HBO comedy "Barry" (HBO, 2018- ) as a histrionic acting teacher in Los Angeles. The series was a critical hit, and earned Winkler a Golden Globe and a Primetime Emmy. Although Winkler had been nominated for numerous Emmy Awards in the past, this was his first win.