Thanks to his role in “Happy Days,” actor Henry Winkler achieved a level of fame that few people can ever imagine.
Fortunately for him, the Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli actor was able to avoid many of the trappings of fame that have sent so many celebrities spiraling quickly in the wrong direction. Winkler talked about this during a 2015 interview with BBC HARDtalk.
During the interview, Winkler was asked to reflect on the television stars of the mid-2010s. The context is that the actors attained a level of celebrity similar to what he experienced with “Happy Days.”
However, the way these actors handled their fame was very different from the way things played out for Henry Winkler. The actor was asked to comment on whether there were still actors who put the team above themselves as individuals.
“There are team players,” Winkler said.
The “Happy Days” star then went to explain why so many famous people buy into their fame.
“Here’s the problem: You are treated almost like a deity,” Winkler said. “You walk in the street people want to touch you, want some of your clothes, would like to cut your hair, to have some, you know …”
‘Happy Days’ Star Henry Winkler Said Celebrities ‘Cannot Believe What People are Telling’ Them
“Happy Days” star Henry Winkler also offered some advice for current celebrities, as well as those who have fame in their futures.
“You cannot believe what people are telling you,” he said. “I am still short – I did not grow one inch because I was famous.”
Winkler also said that he focused on himself as a person – not as a famous actor.
“I am still Henry, I know only what I know,” he said. “I am not an authority now on stuff I don’t know.”
At the same time, the “Happy Days” star said it is difficult not to believe all the hype surrounding you when you are famous.
“You want so badly to buy in. You want so badly to believe, ‘I’m special. I can walk on water,'” Winkler explained. “And it just isn’t true. And there are lots of people who don’t – who make it a pact with the devil and go down that road. It will destroy you like you were hit by a car, like an oncoming train.”
The “Happy Days” actor also shared a warning about having too much pride and self-confidence in one’s abilities that can come after becoming very famous.
“That kind of hubris will cut you in half,” Henry Winkler said. “Honestly, that is the truth.”
You can watch Henry Winkler’s 2015 interview with HARDtalk on BBC below. His comments about the dangers of fame begin around the 19:40 mark of the video.