Henry Winkler knows a thing or two about Hollywood, having spent nearly three decades enjoying success in the business. “Happy Days” is history and the leather jacket worn by The Fonz has hung in the Smithsonian since February 13th, 1980. For his portrayal of The Fonz for 10 seasons (1974-84), Winkler won two consecutive Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Comedy Series, and three Emmy® nominations in the same category. He was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Fonz continues to live in the past on Nick At Nite and T.V. Land while Winkler lives very much in the present as an actor, director, producer and, now, an award-winning author, having received acclaim for his Hank Zipzer: The World's Best Underachiever series of books aimed at children in grades three through six.
Winkler was born in New York City and made his acting debut as Billy Budd in the eighth grade and played Wintergreen in Of Thee I Sing in the eleventh grade at 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.
Winkler made his motion picture debut in “The Lords of Flatbush.” After signing to do his second feature film “Crazy Joe,” he moved to California. His network television credits include “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Bob Newhart Show,” “The Paul Sand Show” and “Rhoda.” Then, on his birthday, October 30, 1973, he was cast as The Fonz on ABC’s “Happy Days.”
In 1979, Winkler formed his first production company, Fair Dinkum Productions. Its first venture was “Who Are the DeBolts and Where Did They Get 19 Kids?,” a television documentary about Dorothy and Robert DeBolt’s remarkable children—13 of them adopted—and most of them physically and/or emotionally challenged. Winkler served as on-camera host and executive producer of the ABC presentation, which went on to win the prestigious Humanitas Prize. Fair Dinkum’s first made-for-television movie, “Scandal Sheet,” aired in January 1985 on ABC.
In 1986, Winkler directed his first made-for-TV movie, “A Smokey Mountain Christmas,” starring Dolly Parton, and two years later, he directed his first feature film, “Memories of Me,” starring Billy Crystal.
In 1996 Winkler co-starred opposite Adam Sandler in Disney’s “The Water Boy,” which grossed more than $70 million in its first two weeks. Before that, he had graced the big screen in Wes Craven’s “Scream,” followed by three independent films: “Punks,” “Dill Scallion” and “Ground Control.” He recently co-starred once again with Adam Sandler in the 2006 film “Click.” Winkler also appeared on FOX’s “Arrested Development,” and NBC’s “Third Watch.”
He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife Stacey and their children, Jed, Zoë and Max.