‘Happy Days’: Henry Winkler Revealed the No. 1 Piece of Advice He Would Give to Aspiring Actors

by Matthew Wilson

“Happy Days” star Henry Winkler has enjoyed a decades-long career as an actor. And he had some advice to give actors just starting out. One of the most important things, Winkler said he preaches is perseverance.

In a 2011 interview with Pop Entertainment, Winkler encouraged inspiring actors to stick with the craft. Most actors probably won’t land their dream role the first time they audition. To make it in Hollywood takes patience and a bit of determination.

“Well, I would also give them the advice of preparation,” Winkler told the outlet. “Do you know there are so many young people they think – I don’t know what has gotten into the culture, but they think, oh, I can do that; I’m just going to do that.  I think if you’re going to do something you want to be there for longer than a minute.  You have to think of yourself as a forest ranger.  You plant a tree and you want to tend that tree for the next 75 years.”

Henry Winkler Always Wanted to Be an Actor

Winkler has taken his own advice in the past. Acting is all that the “Happy Days” star ever wanted to do. Even as a young boy, he would imagine himself as an actor.

Winkler told the Daily Actor, “I knew that I wanted to act since I was old enough to reason. I never had a Plan B, I never deviated. I never thought that there was anything else that I could possibly do in this world except to try and be a working actor.”

So how did Winkler set off to start his career? First, he attended the Yale School of Drama where he trained in classical theater. Winkler’s early career started off on stage before he transitioned into working on commercials to make money to live by. It proved to be a great source of income.

“I got great at getting commercials and I didn’t have to do another job to make ends meet,” Winkler said. “I made my living and I could do plays for free at the Manhattan Theatre Club at night. Everybody I went to Yale with said, ‘I don’t know how you can do commercials; we are trained for theater.’ Except that the money I made from commercials allowed me to go to California for a month and be able to survive, and within two weeks I got ‘Happy Days.’”

Winkler captured audiences’ attention with his Fonz character on “Happy Days.” It’s a role that would follow him for the rest of his life. But the actor eventually managed to break his typecast and has appeared in several movies and TV shows since then as a variety of characters.