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Henry Winkler

Henry Winkler was born in New York City on October 30, 1945, the son of a lumber company president. His first acting role was as a tube of toothpaste in a hygiene play at Hilltop Nursery School. Winkler continued to appear in many class productions and dreamed of becoming a professional actor. He studied drama at Emerson College in Boston and earned a master's degree at the Yale School of Drama.

In 1973, with a few film roles and countless commercials under his belt, Winkler moved to California. He landed guest roles on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "The Bob Newhart Show" before receiving the biggest break of his career. On October 30, 1973, Winkler's 28th birthday, he was cast as Arthur Fonzarelli on "Happy Days."

The producers never intended for the Fonz to be the star of the show. But suddenly kids all across the country were popping their thumbs in the air and saying "Aaaay!" Fonzie was a new American hero. Winkler was afraid of being typecast as a leather-jacketed greaser and found time to appear in a few movies: "Heroes," "The One and Only," and "Night Shift."

Like many of the other "Happy Days" cast members, Winkler has moved to other side of the camera. He served as a producer for the long-running ABC series "MacGyver" and directed the 1993 film "Cop and 1/2." He has not completely abandoned acting, however, and he starred in the 1995 TV movie "A Child is Missing," as well as the short-lived 1994 sitcom "Monty." Despite other roles that may come his way, Henry Winkler has already made a tremendous contribution to our television heritage by bringing the Fonz to life.

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