2014-2015 Speakers

Henry Winkler

Actor, Author, Producer, and Director

September 9, 2014
7 p.m.

Actor, director, producer and author are words often used to describe Henry Winkler. Born in New York City on October 30, 1945, Henry began performing at the age of 14. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama in 1970, he moved back to New York to make his mark on Broadway, but decided to give television a try and headed to Los Angeles in 1973. He quickly found work in commercials and landed several guest spots on sitcoms including The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show, but soon landed the role of Arthur Fonzarelli, aka The Fonz, on Happy Days which changed his life forever. During his 10 years on Happy Days, Henry won two Golden Globe Awards and was nominated three times for an Emmy Award. He was honored with a “star” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the leather jacket the character wore has hung in The Smithsonian since 1980. “Fonzie’s” lunch box was recently added to the exhibit. Henry’s portrayal of “The Fonz,” made him one of the most recognized actors in the world and an international star...a status he still maintains to this day.

But while Happy Days and “The Fonz” continue to live in the past thanks to cable television, Henry Winkler lives very much in the present. In June 2010, Henry joined the cast of the USA Network series, Royal Pains, as Eddie R. Lawson. Henry also joined the ensemble cast of Cartoon Network’s first live-action comedy, Children’s Hospital. He plays hospital administrator, Sy Mittleman. In Spring 2012 he also co-starred with Kevin James and Salma Hayek in Here Comes The Boom, a comedy about the world of extreme wrestlers. In 2006, Henry was asked to play the role of Captain Hook in the holiday pantomime production of Peter Pan at the New Wimbledon Theatre in London. He reprised the role in Woking, England for Christmas 2007. For the 2008-2009 seasons, the play moved to the Milton Keyes Theatre. This year Henry will don the hook once again at the Liverpool Empire. It’s hard to believe that Henry Winkler has been working in the entertainment industry for more than 30 years.

In 2003, Henry’s career took yet another turn. He added “author” to his long list of accomplishments. He began writing a series of children’s novels with his partner, Lin Oliver, for Penguin Putnam entitled, Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Under-Achiever. The books were inspired by Henry’s struggle throughout his education due to his learning challenges. “I had trouble reading books, so I never imagined I could write one,” he said when asked about the success of the Hank Zipzer series. All 17 novels of the series are in bookstores across the United States and most recently have become popular in Great Britain. The Hank Zipzer series has appeared on several Best Seller lists including the New York Times and have sold more than 3 million copies.

Continuing his love for children’s books, he released the first installment of a new series in January 2012 entitled Ghost Buddy #1: Zero to Hero. The story follows the new kid in school as his friend Hoover, a ghost, helps him overcome an obnoxious bully. In 2011 he published a collection of anecdotes and heartfelt observations I Never Met an Idiot on the River. The book is a collection of the lessons and photos Winkler gathered while fly fishing in Montana.

Henry has worked tirelessly to bring awareness and support to children who learn differently by advocating for changes in the educational system and informing parents and teachers about learning challenges.

Of all the titles he has received, the ones he relishes most are husband, father and most recently grandfather. Henry and Stacey have three children, Jed, Zoe and Max. Jed and his wife recently became parents of a daughter, Indya. The Winklers reside in Los Angeles with their two dogs, Charlotte and Linus.

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