How ‘Anxiety and Fear’ Drive ‘Happy Days’ Icon Henry Winkler to Keep Working

by Courtney Blackann
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When you think of “Happy Days,” you can’t help but think of the show’s super cool, slightly arrogant bad boy. That’s right, we mean Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli. His character was the embodiment of fun and everything you wanted to be in high school.

The real-life Fonz – Henry Winkler – is way more down to earth. A good guy all around, the actor just loves bringing characters to life.

During a recent interview, Winkler spoke about what things keep him motivated, different acting roles, and his time filming “Happy Days.”

Additionally, there was one particular question the seasoned actor had a surprising answer to. According to the Chicago Tribune, Winkler isn’t always as confident as “The Fonz” generally appeared. The actor is incredibly thoughtful, driven and dedicated.

What Drives Henry Winkler to Keep Pursuing Roles

Further, addressing relevancy, the interviewer asks what it takes to make an impact year after year and how Winkler accomplishes the feat.

“Anxiety and fear,” Winkler says. “Fear that I will not be relevant. And I don’t mean famous, I just mean that I will not be in the mix. I take my pick and my axe and I go to work everyday and I mine the system. I don’t wait necessarily for it to come to me.”

His methods have paid off. The “Happy Days” actor has been involved in comedy, horror and quirky independent pieces. Staying relevant isn’t an easy task with today’s competition, but Winkler’s work ethic makes him ahead of the race.

Speaking on the longevity of his career, Winkler says it’s more luck than anything else.

 “You know what’s interesting? There are very few guest stars because every time I would go and do a guest star like on ‘Arrested Development’ I was hired for one or two shows and I stayed for five years. On ‘Parks and Recreation’ I went as a guest star and stayed for three years. That tells you how fortunate I am, to tell you the truth. I don’t take that for granted,” Winkler said.

“Happy Days” Star Shares Greatest Fear

Like anyone else, Henry Winkler said he has some pretty irrational fears. During a 2018 interview, the 72-year-old admitted he would hate “being confined in a straitjacket.” But honestly who wouldn’t?

In a more real sense, Winkler has struggled with some issues which could have been debilitating for his career. However, his work ethic and drive kept him pushing. The actor revealed he struggled with dyslexia for quite a long time while he was younger, though he didn’t realize it until he was in his 30s.

He’s been an advocate for people with learning disabilities ever since, warning parents to not take these issues lightly.

“Those families that have children who learn differently, and that are embarrassed by the child because it does not live up to snuff, you’ve created it actually,” he said. “It comes from your genes, parents out there.”

Outsider.com