Henry Winkler, “The Fonz,” to share inspiring message with Oakland University audience
Award-winning actor, author, director and producer Henry Winkler – best known for portraying Arthur “Fonzie/The Fonz” Fonzarelli for 10 seasons on the American television sitcom “Happy Days” – will visit Oakland University on Monday, Feb. 13 to share humorous anecdotes and inspirational life lessons about overcoming adversity throughout his life and career.
The event, “An Evening with Henry Winkler,” will begin at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) in the Banquet Rooms at the Oakland Center. This is a ticketed event. Tickets are free and are available starting Jan. 9 for OU students, faculty and staff and their guests; and on Jan. 16 for the general public. There is a limit of two tickets per person.
“I am thrilled that Henry Winkler is visiting our campus,” said Hannah Clark, student co-chair of the university’s Student Life Lecture Board, which is hosting the lecture. “I believe his lecture will have a positive impact on the OU community.”
While Winkler made his motion picture debut in “The Lords of Flatbush” – a coming-of-age story set in 1958 that follows four teenagers from the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York – it was his iconic role as “The Fonz” the would make him one of the most recognized actors in the world.
“As a kid, I would watch ‘Happy Days’ with my parents,” Clark said. “It was one of their favorites, and it’s still one of mine. It’s a timeless show, and it’s still relevant today.”
His portrayal of “The Fonz” between 1974 and 1984 earned Winkler two consecutive Golden Globe awards for Best Actor in a Comedy Series (1976 and 1977), as well as three Emmy nominations in the same category. He was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the leather jacket he wore as “The Fonz” has hung in the Smithsonian since 1980.
In addition to his work on “Happy Days,” Winkler’s film and television credits include “The Waterboy,” “Scream,” “Holes,” “Arrested Development,” “Third Watch,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Royal Pains,” “Children’s Hospital,” and “The Practice,” for which he received an Emmy nomination for outstanding actor. In 2016, he began starring in NBC’s celebrity adventure show, “Better Late Than Never,” alongside Terry Bradshaw, William Shatner and George Foreman.
Behind the scenes, Winkler has also made his mark as a producer and director. To date, he has produced over 20 TV series and specials, including “MacGyver,” “So Weird,” “Mr. Sunshine,” “Sightings,” “A Family Again,” “All Kids Do It,” “Ryan’s Four,” “Scandal Street,” and the ABC documentary “Who Are the Debolts? And Where Did They Get 19 Kids?” which won the prestigious Humanitas Award.
As Winkler became increasingly visible in the entertainment industry, he found that he could use his position to support his passion for helping others, particularly children, which he developed as a result of struggling with undiagnosed dyslexia for much of his life.
Some of the groups and organizations with which he has been associated include: United Friends of the Children, the Children’s Action Network, the Cerebral Palsy Telethon, the Toys for Tots campaign, the Epilepsy Foundation of America, the National Committee for Arts for the Handicapped, the Special Olympics, and the Los Angeles Music Center’s Very Special Arts Festival for Children.
“Mr. Winkler is such an accomplished and good-hearted individual,” Clark said.
Winkler received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Emerson College in Boston and a Master of Arts degree from the Yale School of Drama.
For more information about the event, or to request special assistance, contact the Center for Student Activities at (248) 370-2400. “An evening with Henry Winkler” is co-sponsored with the Office of Disability Support Services, the Social Work Program, and the School of Education and Human Services.