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Henry Winkler

As a child

Henry Winkler was born in New York City, the son of Ilse and Harry Winkler who emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1939 before the beginning of the Second World War. He made his acting debut as Billy Budd in the eighth grade at the McBurney School for Boys in New York City. During his high school and college years, he studied in Lausanne, Switzerland and worked in a lumber mill in a small German town.

As an adult

Henry’s role as “The Fonz” in the popular US sitcom Happy Days made him one of the most recognized actors in the world, loved by all ages. He won two consecutive Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Comedy Series and was honored with a “star” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Since then he has appeared in lots of other films and is also an award-winning producer and director of family and children's programming. He is also deeply committed to children’s welfare and works with many children’s groups.

As an artist

In 2003, Henry began writing a series of children’s novels with his partner Lin Oliver entitled, Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Under-Achiever. The books are about the everyday adventures of Hank, a bright boy in the fourth grade who has learning difficulties. They are inspired by Henry’s struggle throughout his education due to his own dyslexia.

Things you didn't know about Henry Winkler

  1. He was cast as Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli in Happy Days on his birthday, 30 October 1973.
  2. The leather jacket he wore as “The Fonz” has hung in the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum based in Washington DC, since 13 February 1980.
  3. Henry formed JZM Productions, a children’s TV production company, in 1983. The name JZM was made from the first names of his three children: Jed, Zoë and Max.
  4. He has starred in over 30 TV commercials.
  5. Had he not succeeded as an actor, he would have become a child psychologist because he loves working with children.
  6. On June 29, 1996, Henry received the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Artes et Lettres, the French Government’s highest honor.
  7. He has directed the TV programme ‘Sabrina, The Teenage Witch’
  8. He appeared in his first pantomime, Peter Pan, at the New Wimbledon Theatre in 2006 starring as Captain Hook.
  9. He has guest-starred on The Simpsons.
  10. Henry's first movie role was The Lords of Flatbush. The same movie also starred the then-unknown Sylvester Stallone.

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