‘Happy Days’ Star Henry Winkler Reveals He’s Doing Most ‘Intense Work’ He’s Ever Done

by Craig Garrett

Happy Days star Henry Winkler became concerned with his Barry role soon after the acclaimed series began filming. Winkler portrays am egotitistical has-been acting teacher named Gene Cousineau on Barry. The character can be off putting at time. Eventually, Winkler asked the show’s creator and star Bill Hader a pointed question. “Am I playing an asshole?” By the third season, Cousineau has faced an immense loss because of Barry. In order to cope, he did some extensive thinking about himself.

Henry Winkler recently opened up about the chracter’s evolution on Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast. “I think the umbrella for Season 3 is, can a person change? It was a question Bill asked me in a scene in Season 2. And now it is for all of the characters,” Winkler told Variety. “Is there atonement?” Season 3 of Barry turned an already dark comedy pitch black.

As Henry Winkler looked back on his many years in the entertainment industry, he reflected on his role in HBO’s Barry. He won an Emmy for the the role in 2018. This year, he is nominated once again in the category of outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series. He said that each day after shooting the series, he would “go home and have visited a land that was never in my imagination.”

Henry Winkler reveals his most baffling role

“I think this is the most intense work I have ever done in my career, starting June 30, 1970, when I was hired by the Yale repertory theater for $172 a week,” Henry Winkler reflected. If you watch TV, then you have probably seen Winkler in one of his many recognizable voice and screen roles. However, out of all these acting gigs, his six years playing administrator Sy Mittleman on Children’s Hospital is arguably the most unusual role he has had.

“I went in for just a few, I stayed for six years. I never understood the jokes. [It never made sense] why I was holding a vat of urine,” Henry Winkler said. “All I knew was I was with these incredibly funny people. And once during an interview I said, ‘Yeah, I’m doing a wacky comedy.’ And they stopped the interview, took me aside [and said], ‘You cannot say wacky. It’s meta.’ I didn’t understand what that meant either. Sat down and went, ‘I’m doing a meta comedy.’ I have no idea.”

While Henry Winkler may still be puzzled about the specifics of Children’s Hospital, his memories of playing The Fonz on Happy Days are treasured. His memories of moving to Los Angeles are likewise cherished. “It’s taken me from there to today to taste who I knew I wanted to be as an actor,” Winkler said of playing the iconic Fonzie.