‘Happy Days’ Icon Henry Winkler Compares His Acting Career To a Muffin in the Oven

by Taylor Cunningham

Happy Days star Henry Winkler may have earned his fame by being a classic TV star. But in his opinion, he didn’t fully come into his own until he was an adult. And he likens the process to preparing baked goods.

The Emmy-winning actor comes from an illustrious background filled with good humor and hard work. Despite carrying an undiagnosed learning disorder, dyslexia, well into his adulthood, Winkler managed to graduate high school and then earn a bachelor’s and masters from two of the country’s most esteemed universities, Emerson College and Yale School of Drama.

But despite coming out of school with two degrees and walking right into one of the most iconic sitcoms in television history, Henry Winkler believes it took him four more decades to truly perfect his art.

As he told The Daily Beast, he didn’t feel like he was confident in his career as a young man. But as a star on Barry, he has a renewed sense of worth.

“When I was training, when I was 22, 23, I was like a muffin when you’re baking it and you take a toothpick and you put it in and the center is not done yet so you put it back. I went back into the oven for the next 40 years,” he admitted. “I’m a late bloomer. Whatever my learning challenges, whatever my background is, my real emotional self never was able to flower until later in life.”

Henry Winkler Battled Typecasting Through Much of His Career

Henry Winkler shared that those challenges held him back in his career to a point. For several of those reasons, he had a hard time landing his dream jobs following his decade-long stint on Happy Days. But ironically, his big break is actually what held him back the most.

When Henry Winkler took the part of Fonzie, he became a pop-culture sensation. And unsurprisingly, it was hard for audiences to see anyone other than the slick greaser when the series ended. So, it took some time for the character to fade into the past before Winkler could resume his reign in Hollywood.

“What really held me back, except that I wouldn’t have changed a hair on its head when I changed my voice, The Fonz came out like a torrent,” he continued. “And because he was so popular, you don’t beat typecasting, you don’t beat the system.”

Luckily, Henry Winkler managed to “beat the system” after spending some years guest starring in hit series and then working his way into blockbusters like Click. Today, you can catch him playing Gene Cousineau in Barry—the role that finally earned him his one and only Emmy.