‘Happy Days’ Icon Henry Winkler Explains How He Handled Fast Rise to Stardom

by Joe Rutland

Stardom would come relatively quickly to Happy Days star Henry Winkler thanks to his role as Arthur Fonzarelli, or The Fonz. Still, the move upward in the success chain was rather fast. Winkler would soon become a force to be reckoned with on the show. He always respected his fellow cast members even as The Fonz would become central to the storylines. With such newfound success, how did Winkler handle it all?

“I never believed what other people were saying,” Winkler tells The Daily Beast. “I liked that they were saying it. It was pragmatic that they were saying it, because I was reaping the benefit, but I never believed that they liked me that much, that I was that successful. It was like two different worlds.”

Well, the actor who would come out of Yale would soon find himself a massive star. Happy Days lunch boxes (back when they were such a thing) were carried by kids of a young age. The show would even find itself represented in the world of animation. Winkler and his fellow show stars would lend their voices to some of them. Beyond this show, though, Winkler had a period of time with little work.

Henry Winkler of ‘Happy Days’ Finds Creative Outlet With Children’s Books

It’s hard to believe that someone of his stature would not be picked up quickly by other shows. But there was some time after Happy Days ended when he didn’t get much work at all. Let’s go ahead and blame typecasting because there’s no way a guy of his talent should have been without work. But he would end up finding another outlet for his creativity. With the creation of his children’s books, Winkler would become well known to a whole new audience. Through them, he was able to help others dealing with dyslexia and offer them hope.

As much as people loved Happy Days, it should be noted that Winkler didn’t win an Emmy Award. Nope, he never got one for The Fonz. Go figure. Fans seeing this for the first time maybe cannot believe this is true at all. Well, it would take some years but Winkler did finally win an Emmy Award. It would come for his portrayal of Gene Cousineau on the HBO series Barry. In fact, he was just nominated for another Emmy, too. For our friend Henry, when it rains, it pours.

By the way, he’s getting ready to head back to work. Filming is looking to start up again for Barry. But Winkler has stayed relevant over the summer. He’s been quite busy on his summer fishing trip to Idaho. Henry would even share photos of his catches out on the Snake River.