Happy days are here again for Henry Winkler

January 22, 2017, 11:57 AM

Henry Winkler had “Happy Days” aplenty on that hit TV show of yesteryear. And to this day he has plenty of fans — one in particular, as Mo Rocca shows us in our Sunday Profile:

“Look at these front teeth!” said Stacey Winkler. “They’re perfect. They’re like a toothpaste commercial!”

After 38 years of marriage, Stacey Winkler still adores her husband.

“I think he’s so handsome,” she told Rocca. “He’s adorable. Look at his hands; they’re so tan and handsome.”

“That’s very kind of you,” Henry Winkler said in response. “You’re very pretty!”

Then again, who doesn’t love Henry Winkler? After all, he was the Fonz on the classic TV series, “Happy Days.”

“Alright, now listen up: girls, one time, one time only, line right up here, kiss the Fonz for a buck. Now that’s a bargain at any price.”

The role of the Fonz, Winkler said, “was the foundation on which I built the rest of my life. He built the house I live in!”

But Winkler didn’t always feel the love, especially in the Manhattan apartment where his parents, immigrants from Nazi Germany, raised him.

“They had an affectionate phrase for me: Dummer Hund. And for those of you who don’t understand German, that means ‘dumb dog.’ They were convinced that I was lazy, that I was not living up to my potential. Teachers said the same thing. So I was grounded most of my high school career.”

He was 31 when he read his first book.

What neither Henry nor his parents knew was that he was dyslexic — so dyslexic he could barely read.

“It was horrible,” he said. “It was humiliating. It was scary. And I learned to memorize as much as I could from any page and then improvise.”

Rocca asked, “How many colleges did you apply to?”

“I applied to 28, and I got into two.”

Winkler managed to get through Boston’s Emerson College, then was accepted to the prestigious Yale School of Drama, after auditioning with a “Shakespearean monologue” … sort of. It was a monologue that he improvised.

“’Launce and the dog. And he loved his dog. And he would take his dog for a walk. The sky was that, that eerie blue, just before the storm.’ I made it up!”

After Yale, he acted on stage and in commercials. Then at the age of 27, Winkler became the coolest high school dropout in America.

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