‘Happy Days’: Henry Winkler Explained How He is ‘Still Embarrassed’ About His Dyslexia

by Michael Freeman
(Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Happy Days star Henry Winkler has a lifetime of success behind him, as well as renown. Something you may not know about him though is the fact he has dyslexia. In fact, according to him, he’s “still embarrassed” about his dyslexia today.

NPR’s Fresh Air interviewed Winkler in 2019 to discuss acting, as well as his life in general. One subject that cropped up was the fact Winkler learned he had dyslexia when he was 31 years old. He then said, even now, when reading with other actors, he’ll sometimes drop lines and completely miss them because of it. When he realizes he messes everyone else up, he said he is “still embarrassed.”

“We’re sitting around the table and sometimes people who sit next to me have to point out that I have dropped a line, that I just missed it on the page, and I’m sitting there thinking, “Oh my God! I wonder whose line it is?” There’s a big silence here. It turns out it’s me! I’m still embarrassed,” Winkler told Terry Gross of Fresh Air.

Continuing, Winkler said “And not only that, but also I want to be perfect, and I hate when I miss the timing, or I screw another actor’s timing up because I have screwed the line up so badly, or I have to go back again. Ugh, I hate it. Sometimes I just — I hate my brain.”

Winkler stated he found out he had dyslexia after his stepson got tested. Realizing everything they said about him applied to Winkler as well, he got tested and found out he had it too.

Nevertheless, he obviously learned to cope and continues his successful acting career today, even hosting acting classes for those interested.

Henry Winkler Always Has Time to Meet His Fans

Henry Winkler is obviously a thoughtful person. For instance, one of the first things he thinks of regarding his dyslexia is how it inconveniences other people. Besides being considerate regarding his acting peers, he feels the same toward fans, saying he always has time for them.

Speaking to the Chicago Tribune newspaper, Winkler discussed a variety of topics. One thing he addressed was his fans and engaging them. Specifically citing conventions and events, he makes an interesting point in that his fans make time to watch him, so he should do the same.

“I come there, most people sit behind the table and there’s a table between them and the fan,” Winkler said. “I stand on the other side of the table and meet people. Because if an actor says give me a half-hour or an hour of your time every week for multiple years, and then they come and say ‘Hello’ and you don’t meet them halfway, I think that is bad behavior.”