The Jewish Week
January 8, 2012
By, Adam Dickter
He tried out stage names like Chester Flame and Peter Avalanche at Yale Drama School, but when he got the chance to star in TV and movies Henry Winkler stuck with the one his German refugee parents gave him.
“I am who I am,” says the pop-culture icon, who became one of the first Jewish superstars on network TV as the streetwise but sensitive greaser Arthur Fonzarelli on ABC’s “Happy Days”; the show ran 1974-‘84. He still acts on stage, TV and the big screen, but is also the co-author of 19 children’s books and author of a recent memoir — not bad for a kid who struggled with poor grades and low self-esteem as a result of undiagnosed dyslexia.
A Manhattan native, Winkler, 66, has three adult children with his wife of 33 years, Stacy, and will co-star in the upcoming comedy “Here Comes The Boom” with Kevin James and Salma Hayek. He also regularly appears on the Adult Swim comedy “Children’s Hospital” and has a recurring role on USA’s “Royal Pains.”
His memoir, “I’ve Never Met an Idiot on the River” (Insight Editions) is about overcoming challenges, his passion for fly-fishing and what he’s learned about himself while mastering its techniques and enjoying the wilderness. It’s also a showcase of his photography. The Jewish Week by phone caught up with Winkler late last month.