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Henry Winkler

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2003-09-14

Henry Winkler

Henry "The Fonz" Winkler

Who could forget Henry Winkler as Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli in Happy Days? As one of the most memorable characters in TV history, Winkler was a regular fixture on the small screen for a full decade (the show ran from 1974-1984), and even now is still seen in repeats on terrestrial and cable TV across the world.

But what became of Winkler once his alter ego hung up his leather jacket for the last time?

Well, actually Winkler has done pretty well for himself since Happy Days ended. Now aged 58, the New York native has barely stopped working, dividing his time between acting, producing and directing. Notable appearances include the horror film Scream and comedy The Waterboy (alongside fellow Jew Adam Sandler), while his latest film Holes is released in the UK in October.

Like a number of his former Happy Days co-stars (Ron Howard, Anson Williams), Winkler has also stepped behind the camera to direct – although since the 1993 film Cop And A Half flopped at the box office he’s stuck mainly to TV, directing episodes of Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Clueless among others.

More recently, Winkler has co-authored a series of four children’s books titled Hank Zipzer: True Confessions Of The World’s Best Underachiever. The first two, Niagara Falls Or Does It and I Got A ‘D’ In Salami are available in US bookshops now, while two more are due out before the end of the year. Winkler took inspiration from his own childhood for the series; he struggled at school due to dyslexia, but had no idea he suffered from the condition until years later.

“In school, I was an underachiever,” he says. ``Nobody ever knew why. I didn't know why. Until my stepson was diagnosed with dyslexia - I listened to them describe his symptoms and said, 'Oh my God, that's me!' “ Even during his time on Happy Days, the problem went undetected. “The worst part for me was sitting around the table reading the script with the cast”.