Take a peek behind the curtain

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Henry Winkler, a Yale School of Drama, was a struggling actor in New York when he decided to try Hollywood. It was there, in 1973, that he landed the role of a lifetime and became a television icon when he was cast as Arthur Fonzarelli on the TV series, Happy Days. And he made it look easy.

Henry had a hard time at Yale and in New York, not because he didn’t land the roles he wanted, but because he suffered from severe dyslexia. It was that dyslexia that made his father, a wealthy man in the lumber business, think he was stupid and lazy. He always felt not good enough, and it wasn’t until his later years that he found help.

In fact, Henry had to work twice as hard and twice as long to learn his lines as other actors, but he persevered. The scenes where he tells the readers how “the Fonz” was born, was like peeking behind the curtain. In fact, this entire memoir is like that. I feel like I’ve this guy like a close cousin.

Now 78, Henry tells his stories of struggle and achievement in a memoir that sounds like he is sitting in your living room telling you his life story. I had no idea that after Happy Days, he struggled due to typecasting. When an audience looked at him, they saw “the Fonz.” But when I thought about it, I wasn’t surprised. “The Fonz” is a legend.

I didn’t know that he went on to become a director to some hit movies, a producer and a co-author of more than thirty books for kids including Alien Superstar Trilogy and a twenty-eight-book series starring Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Underachiever.”

I really like the structure of Being Henry. It is tales of his days as “The Fonz” and Happy Days interspersed with tales of his forty-five, and counting, year marriage to Stacey, his kids, the other roles he has played, his famous friends. And yet through it all, he seems like a down-to-earth nice guy who doesn’t live in a billion-room mansion, but a nice house in Los Angeles.

I always like “the Fonz,” but now I have a deeper appreciation for Henry.

Being Henry: The Fonz …and Beyond get 5 out of 5 stars in Julie’s world.