Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Henry Franklin Winkler (born October 30, 1945) is an actor, director and producer who is most famous for his role as Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli on the popular sitcom Happy Days (1974 - 1984). Winkler gained national fame for his auto mechanic-greaser role as "The Fonz"; starting out as a minor character at the show's beginning but having top billing by the time the show ended.
Winkler was born in New York, New York. He received his Bachelor's degree from Emerson College in 1967, and received his MFA from the Yale School of Drama in 1970. He received his Ph.D. in Hebrew Literature in 1978 from Emerson College.
Winkler started his career by appearing in a number of television commercials before landing a role in The Lords of Flatbush (1974) (which also starred then unknown Sylvester Stallone). He quickly got the role of Fonzie in Happy Days that same year. During his decade on Happy Days, Winkler also starred in a number of movies including playing a troubled Vietnam Vet in Heroes (1977) and a morgue attendant in Night Shift (1982), which was directed by Happy Days co-star Ron Howard.
After Happy Days, Winkler slowed his acting career down as he began concentrating on producing and directing. He has producer credits on several movies and television shows including MacGyver and Mr. Sunshine and directed several movies including the Billy Crystal movie Memories of Me (1988) and Cop and ½ (1993) with Burt Reynolds.
In September of 2003, Winkler's friend of nearly 25 years, John Ritter suddenly passed away. The day that Ritter died, Winkler was slated to guest star on Ritter's ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. Winkler was obviously very devastated and started to make the rounds on as many TV outlets (such as Entertainment Tonight, Hollywood Squares, and the Emmys) as possible to pay his respects to his fallen friend.
- E! Online. "The Facts: Henry Winkler." http://www.eonline.com/Facts/People/Bio/0,128,149,00.html (accessed 3 May 2004).
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