‘Happy Days’ Star Henry Winkler Looks Back on His Legendary Career

by Joe Rutland

For Happy Days star Henry Winkler, his idyllic career has brought him a lot of awards and memorable roles besides The Fonz. Winkler recently picked up the 2022 Variety TV Legacy Award and spent some time looking back on his career. These days, a whole new generation is growing up and seeing him play Gene Cousineau opposite Bill Hader in Barry.

About his work on the HBO series, Winkler says in an interview with Variety, “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.” What about the classic TV show Happy Days? Winkler says, “It’s taken me from there to today to taste who I knew I wanted to be as an actor.” 

Henry Winkler of ‘Happy Days’ Recalls Time on ‘Children’s Hospital’

He also has appeared on the Larry David sitcom Arrested Development. One role that did kind of leave him guessing about some things was as Sy Mittleman on the comedy Children’s Hospital. Winkler said that he went for just a few and stayed for six years. He adds that he never understood the jokes or “why I was holding a vat of urine.”

“All I knew was I was with these incredibly funny people,” he said. “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.” He would add that back in his earlier years, he was thin from worry. But he’s definitely taking better care of himself these days. Winkler adds that he could not have imagined himself having the career that he has had as well.

Beloved Actor Will Be Releasing His Memoir In 2024

What does he tell those who ask him for advice? Winkler shares his thoughts. “When I talked to students, to people, young people who want to be an actor, I said, ‘You know what? It is not easy. You have to be tenacious, but eventually, you will get where you want to be. Not always, but for the most part.’ It happened to me. I didn’t know that I was going to have this great journey.”

There are more stories from the world of Winkler waiting to be shared. In fact, he’s going to be releasing a memoir that will be out in 2024. He has played in movies and TV shows opposite the likes of Ron Howard and Sylvester Stallone. Toss in his own struggles with dyslexia throughout his life and how he overcomes that obstacle.