As Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli, he famously jumped the shark, but Henry Winkler's career has never lost credibility. Now he's traveling through Asia on the new NBC docuseries Better Late Than Never, experiencing culture shock with fellow senior celebs William Shatner, George Forman and Terry Bradshaw. As the show makes its debut, Winkler looks back at Fonzie and other notable roles from over four decades in the business.
Better Late Than Never, Series Premiere, Tuesday, August 23, 10/9c, NBC.
Happy Days (1974–84) The show quietly debuted in January 1974. “Two months later I did a personal appearance in Little Rock and there were 3,000 girls in poodle skirts waiting for me when I got off the plane,” Winkler recalls. “That’s when I knew we were onto something.”
Arrested Development (2003–05; 2013) Playing nincompoop lawyer Barry Zuckerkorn “made me a much better actor,” Winkler says. “[Creator] Mitch Hurwitz is a genius genuinely touched by God. When you’re around him, you never think, ‘I know my s--t.’ You just do what he says.”
Parks and Recration (2013–15) For two seasons, he was Dr. Saperstein, the easily distracted ob-gyn who thought Leslie (Amy Poehler) was having quadruplets. Oops. “It was actually triplets,” Winkler says. “It turned out the fourth ‘baby’ was a schmear of cream cheese on the ultrasound monitor.”
Childrens Hospital (2010–16) Winkler spent seven seasons as hospital administrator Sy Mittleman, who worked out of an unused bathroom. “I loved every second of that wacky show and maybe understood three percent of it,” he says.
Royal Pains (2010–16) He scored the coveted role of Hank and Evan’s deadbeat dad, Eddie, because “my dentist’s wife was friends with the parents of the show’s cocreator, Andrew Lenchewski,” Winkler says. “Hey, at my age, I need all the connections I can get!”