‘Happy Days’ Star Henry Winkler Opens Up About ‘Reinventing’ Himself After The Fonz

by Joe Rutland

Playing such an iconic character like “The Fonz” called for “Happy Days” star Henry Winkler to pursue reinventing himself.

After all, the sitcom ended in 1984 and Winkler had a lot of years left for work.

So, Outsiders, we’re wondering how he worked on changing that image away from “Fonzie” toward new roles. Winkler discussed it in an interview with Insider.

Right after “Happy Days” ended, Winkler worked on producing “MacGyver.” But he could not get an acting role.

“I sat in my office and I thought, ‘Oh my god, I am having pain in my brain because I don’t have a plan B,'” Winkler said. He said that playing on “Happy Days” was what he “dreamed of doing.” But he did not have “the next step” ahead in his life.

“People would say, ‘Wow, he’s funny. He’s such a good actor. But he was The Fonz,'” Winkler said. “And so they would pass me by. You have to learn to find the strength in yourself to deal with that, reinvent yourself, move on.”

But all that has changed as he’s been in shows like “Arrested Development” and “Barry.” Winkler also has done movies like “Night Shift” and “The Waterboy.” It appears that the former “Fonzie” actor has done quite well.

‘Happy Days’ Star Uses Two Core Emotions To Keep Him Working As An Actor

Sure, Outsiders, it might be easy to believe that Winkler could just rest easy after all those years on “Happy Days.”

But his anxiety and fear, two core emotions, would not let him do so.

“Anxiety and fear,” Winkler said. “Fear that I will not be relevant. And I don’t mean famous, I just mean that I will not be in the mix. I take my pick and my ax and I go to work every day and I mine the system. I don’t wait necessarily for it to come to me.”

How has that worked for him? Pretty dang well, Outsiders. Winkler has had roles in diverse productions of horror, comedy, and independent films.

The actor uses his work ethic to keep going. His long career is amazing but Winkler chalks it up to luck.

“You know what’s interesting?” he asks. “There are very few guest stars because every time I would go and do a guest star like on ‘Arrested Development’ I was hired for one or two shows and I stayed for five years.”

He then says that his role on “Parks and Recreation” started out as a guest star spot. He stayed on there for three years.

“That tells you how fortunate I am, to tell you the truth,” he said. “I don’t take that for granted.”