Henry Winkler Biography
A biography on the life and times of Henry Winkler, who starred as "Fonzie" on "Happy Days" for ten years.
Actor Henry Winkler, better known as “The Fonz” on “Happy Days,” was born on October 30, 1945, in New York City, New York. His father was president of a lumber company. Henry’s first acting role was as a tube of toothpaste in his nursery school play. Henry acted in several other school productions, and it was always his dream to become a professional actor.
From 1967 through 1971, Henry attended Yale University to study acting at one of the most prestigious theatre programs in the nation. Finally, in 1973, at age 28, Henry moved to California to pursue his dream. He had done a few films and a number of commercials. In California, Henry had guest appearances on “The Bob Newhart Show” and the “Mary Tyler Moore Show.” However, his big break came when he won the role of “Arthur Fonzarelli” in “Happy Days.” Originally, Henry’s part was supposed to be very small—only a few appearances here and there. The star of the show was Ron Howard, who played “Richie Cunningham.” Henry soon stole the scene as “Fonzie” though, and eventually became the star of the show. There was even talk at one point of renaming the show “Fonzie.”
Afraid of being typecast as a greaser in a leather jacket, Henry starred in a few movies here and there, including “Night Shift,” directed by his “Happy Days” co-star, Ron Howard, for which Henry won a Golden Globe nomination. Though offered the role of “Danny” in the movie “Grease,” Henry turned it down because he feared it was too similar to his role as “Fonzie.” The role of “Danny” ended up going to John Travolta.
Recently, Henry has made television appearances on shows like Disney’s original series, “So Weird,” starring Mackenzie Philips. He was also in the movie “The Water Boy.” Today Henry continues to act, and is even coaching actors in a “Happy Days” musical, which is based on the television series.