San Jose Speaker Series
Emmy Award-Winning Actor, Author, Director & Producer
Speaking together with Marlee Matlin Wednesday, April 12th, 2023
(Replacing originally scheduled speaker, Annie Leibovitz)
Audiences always leave Henry's presentations inspired and entertained. Through humorous anecdotes and inspirational life lessons about overcoming adversity to his storied career in television and entertainment, groups of all ages can learn from Henry's speeches. His passion for supporting others is the result of a lifetime struggle with undiagnosed dyslexia. Henry has worked tirelessly to bring awareness and support to children who learn differently by advocating for changes in the education system and informing parents and teachers about learning challenges.
Henry Winkler co-stars as acting teacher Gene Cousineau on the hit HBO dark comedy, Barry. In 2018 he won his first Primetime Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for his role in the series which stars Emmy-award winning actor Bill Hader. He also won the television Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor in a comedy series and received nominations for a Golden Globe and SAG Award. He was nominated again for an Emmy in 2019. The series returned for a third season in April 2022 and was renewed for a fourth season in May of that same year. Winkler has enjoyed over four decades of success in Hollywood and continues to be in demand as an actor, producer, and director.
A 1973 audition in Los Angeles forever changed the life of the Yale School of Drama graduate when producer Garry Marshall and Tom Miller cast Winkler in the iconic role of Arthur Fonzarelli, aka “The Fonz,” in the TV series Happy Days. During his 10 years on the popular sitcom, he won two Golden Globe Awards, was nominated three times for an Emmy Award, and was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Both his famous leather jacket and Fonzie’s lunch box became part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum in 1980.
In recent years, Winkler appeared in a number of series, including Medical Police, Arrested Development, Children’s Hospital, Royal Pains, New Girl, and Parks and Recreation. He also starred and co-executive produced the NBC Reality travel series Better Late Than Never.
His guest role in the ABC series The Practice earned him an Emmy Award nomination and he also starred in the CBS sitcom Out of Practice. His guest-star roles have included Numb3rs, The Bob Newhart Show, Third Watch, Crossing Jordan, and Law and Order: SVU, and the Hallmark Channel holiday movie The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
Lately, he become a much sought-after voice actor, having lent his talent to such shows as Human Resources, Rugrats, Monsters at Work, Duck Tails, Central Park, American Dad, Guardians of the Galaxy, All Hail King Julien, Puppy Dog Pals, South Park, King of the Hill, Family Guy, The Simpsons, and Clifford: The Puppy Years, for which he received a Daytime Emmy Award.
His most recent screen role is in Family Squares. Some of his other notable roles include Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, On The Count of Three, Pink Skies Ahead, Night Shift, Here Comes the Boom, The Waterboy, Click, The Lords of Flatbush, Heroes, Holes, and Scream.
Behind the scenes, he has also made his mark as a producer and director. Winkler has executive produced or produced TV series and specials for 19 years, including MacGyver, So Weird, Mr. Sunshine, Sightings, A Family Again, All Kids Do It, (which won him a Daytime Emmy Award), Ryan’s Four, Scandal Sheet, and the ABC documentary Who Are the DeBolts and Where Did They Get 19 Kids?, which won the prestigious Humanitas Prize.
He also directed several movies, including Memories of Me, starring Billy Crystal and the late Alan King, and Cop and a Half, starring the late Burt Reynolds. On stage, Winkler has appeared on Broadway in Neil Simon’s The Dinner Party (with the late John Ritter) and The Performers.
Winkler has always been concerned about the quality of children’s television programming. He has produced countless worthwhile projects for young audiences, including Happily Ever After for PBS and its sequel, Two Daddies to Love Me. Additional specials include Run, Don’t Walk, and All the Kids Do It, which was about teenage drunk driving (he also directed.)
Winkler can add to his resume the title of New York Times best-selling author. His first book, Niagara Falls or Does It? Hank Zipzer the World’s Greatest Under-Achiever, became a New York Times bestseller. The book was inspired by Winkler’s struggle throughout his education due to his learning challenges and became so popular, it grew into a series of 28 novels. All the books are available in bookstores and online across the United States and have been published around the world in nine languages, with more than 5 million copies sold.
To date, he and his co-author Lin Oliver have written 37 children’s novels. Their newest trilogy, Alien Superstar, became an instant New York Times best seller.
Winkler has always believed in helping others and is especially passionate about children. He has been a featured speaker at WE Day Celebrations promoting education and service for students. His work also includes Honorary Chairman of United Friends of the Children; Founding Member of the Children’s Action Network; the first National Honorary Chairman of the Epilepsy Foundation of America; National Chairman of the annual Toys for Tots campaign; the National Committee for Arts for the Handicapped; the Special Olympics; and the Los Angeles Music Center’s Very Special Arts Festival for children who are physically challenged; as well as participating in numerous teenage alcohol and drug abuse programs.
He has received a number of accolades from a variety of prestigious organizations, including B’nai B’rith, Peace Prize by the United Nations, and Women in Film’s Norma Zarky Humanitarian Award, presented to both Henry and his wife, Stacey, for their tireless efforts and devotion to the “improvement of the human condition.”
He also received the Chevallier de l’Ordre des Artes et Lettres, the French government’s highest honor. In addition, Winkler was one of 10 individuals honored by AARP with their 2010 Inspire Award.
Of all the titles he has received, the ones he relishes most are husband, father and grandfather. Winkler and his wife have three children, Jed, Zoe and Max, and six grandchildren. They reside in Los Angeles with their two dogs.