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Henry Winkler says he couldn’t get hired for eight years after Happy Days

Henry Winkler says he couldn’t get hired for eight years after Happy Days

Henry Winkler was 'The Fonz' in Happy Days, but after that role went he found himself in a real struggle

Henry Winkler claimed he couldn't get hired for years after starring in Happy Days.

Winkler shot to the public’s attention with his iconic role as Arthur Herbert ‘Fonz’ Fonzarelli in the sitcom, which debuted in 1974.

With his leather jacket, slicked hair and easily replicated catchphrase - ‘ayyy’ - Fonzie became a firm favorite for fans of the show, as he represented the archetypal tough guy, but one who would always stand up for the little guy and ultimately had his heart in the right place.

Henry Winkler as 'Fonzie'.

While this was no doubt the role that broke Winkler in the industry, he found it really tough to adjust to life outside of the famous leather jacket once the show finished, claiming that for years he was typecast and struggled to find work after Happy Days, which left him in some considerable mental anguish.

Speaking to TODAY, Winkler explained: "There were eight or nine years at a time when I couldn't get hired because I was 'The Fonz,' because I was typecast.

"I had psychic pain that was debilitating because I didn't know what to do.

“I didn't know where to find it, whatever it was, I didn't know what I was going to do.

“I had a family. I had a dog. I had a roof. Oh. My. God."

In the end, he managed to reinvent himself and went on to play loads of different roles, including in comedy series such as Arrested Development and Parks and Recreation, as well as finding film work in Adam Sandler’s The Waterboy, and more recently Black Adam.

Winkler also had a role in Arrested Development.
20th Century Fox/Netflix

He also formed a production company out of ‘will and fear’ in 1985, which picked up shows like MacGyver, bringing five Emmy nominations and a seven season run.

Winkler won his own Emmy in 2018 for his role as Gene Cousineau in Barry, which he stars in alongside Bill Hader.

The dark comedy has been a great success, with the fourth and final series having just wrapped.

Despite being left in a personal and professional struggle afterwards, Winkler wouldn’t change the way things went with Happy Days.

He continued: “I loved doing it.

“I loved playing ‘The Fonz.’ I love those people. I loved learning how to play softball.

“I loved traveling all over the world together with the cast. I would not have traded it.

"Not only that, but also, I don’t know that I would’ve gotten here if I hadn’t gone through the struggle.”

Winkler in Barry.

If he had a message for his younger self - which also might help others - he’d say: "Life is more fun than you think it is, than you allow it to be.

“Don't worry so much.

"I worried way too much, to the point where it literally made me inert."

Featured Image Credit: Everett Collection Inc / Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy

Topics: US News, Celebrity, Film and TV, Mental Health