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Tell a friend Henry Winkler

Henry Winkler as "the Fonz," left, and in a more recent photo. ABC/Disney

When I think of Henry Winkler, like many other people, I remember "The Fonz" from the ’70s sitcom Happy Days. But apparently he’s done a lot of other stuff as well, some of it rather impressive.

On NPR’s Fresh Air, Winkler discusses his life, including being the son of Jewish Holocaust survivors, and he addresses having dyslexia, something I didn’t know about him. He poignantly describes being diagnosed relatively late in life and coming to terms with it:

When I was 31, when my stepson was in the third grade, I found out that I wasn’t stupid, I wasn’t lazy, and I wasn’t not living up to my potential…. First, you have a lot of anger, because all of those arguments, all of that name-calling, all of those punishments, were for naught…. What is so important for the parent to tell the child is that it does not matter that you learn differently. All that you have to know is that you do — somewhere in you — have greatness, and your job is to figure out what that is and give it to the world as a gift.

Hank Zipzer Collection: The World's Greatest Underachiever, by Henry WinklerAbout reading — which actors and producers have to do a lot of — he says, "Every book that I own is in hardcover and on the shelf so I can see it, because every book that I’ve read is a triumph." Not only does Winkler read books, but he co-authors them as well: children’s novels about a kid with learning disabilities. His books are so popular that the current generation of kids recognize Winkler not as "The Fonz," but as the author of Hank Zipzer Collection: The World’s Greatest Underachiever.

You can catch Winkler in Out of Practice, a sitcom about a dysfunctional family of physicians, on Mondays at 9:30 on CBS.

Posted November 3, 2005 by Mariva in books, education, entertainment

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