Henry Winkler brings new meaning to the phrase “write what you know.” A diagnosed dyslexic, he has co-authored more than 20 children’s books about Hank Zipzer, a fourth-grader who struggles with the disorder.
But the actor turned author is best known for his starring role as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli on the classic sitcom Happy Days and continues to earn big laughs on hip current shows like Arrested Development.
Closer caught up with Henry to talk about his favorite memories on set, being a grandfather and how he keeps his 35-year marriage going strong!
Winkler as Arthur Fonzarelli on Happy Days
The 67-year-old, who still keeps in touch with the majority of his Happy Days costars, reveals he never gets sick of talking about the bad boy character who made him famous.
“Not only did I have a great time doing him, I had a great time because of doing him,” says the New York City native.
“I’ve had some extraordinary experiences. I’ve been given awards by the government of France, by the television industry in Italy, by the Queen of England.”
Winkler posing with the Duchess of Cornwall in December
But the cast’s extensive travel didn’t stop them from participating in their favorite on-set activity: softball!
“It was nothing short of amazing,” Winkler shares of the group’s international games. “We traveled as a unit. We enjoyed each other, we played hard, and we played with the American troops. I just met somebody walking down the street in New York who said, ‘I was there in Okinawa when you came.'”
Now that the show is 30 years behind him, Winkler has a different kind of happy days to look forward to. He is a proud grandfather!
“It’s indescribable,” the author says of taking on the fun role. “Grandchildren are just delightful. Fireworks go off when they walk in the house. They’re seven months, 2 and 4. I’m Poppa.”
The actor with his two children, Zoe and Max
And you better believe that Winkler’s marriage to wife Stacey is still going strong after 35 years!
“I think the center of the relationship is the ear, not the mind or the heart,” says the star, who first met Stacey in a clothing store.
“It is the listening. Hearing what the other person is saying. Sometimes it’s really difficult,” he laughs.
Winkler and wife Stacey
Besides promoting his latest Hank Zipzer book, Winkler is currently working on a TV show based on his popular children’s series and is getting ready to start production on a TV movie fittingly titled, The Winklers.