Henry Winkler understands the requirements for longevity in Hollywood.
Featured in the October/November edition of AARP Magazine, the Happy Days actor — who celebrated his 78th birthday on Monday — talked about securing the part of Gene Cousineau in the HBO dark comedy Barry. This role earned him his inaugural Emmy award in 2018 following multiple nominations.
“Barry is a miracle,” exclaims the actor, reflecting on periods in his career where securing roles posed a challenge.
In his acceptance speech for the much-awaited award, he shared, “If you stay at the table long enough, the chips come to you.”
In his conversation with AARP, Winkler expressed his gratitude for winning the trophy, despite acknowledging that some actors claim not to prioritize recognition. He mentioned, “Actors sometimes say, ‘I don’t really care about winning. I have my Emmy or my whatever, and it’s a doorstop in the bathroom.’ They’re lying!”
Before the launch of his upcoming memoir, “Being Henry: The Fonz…and Beyond,” he stated that he doesn’t intend to decelerate.
“I have my work and writing,” he said. “When will the switch flip? When will the dial turn me down? I still have the energy.”
Winkler is embracing the next phase of his life and encourages fans to do the same, advising, “Don’t think about what you don’t have. Embrace and enjoy what’s in front of you.”
The actor additionally shared insights about his personal growth, expressing, “The old Henry got me here, but the new Henry is more fun.”
His mindset is mirrored in his household, intentionally created as a space for family gatherings, including his six grandchildren. He explains, “There are no plastic covers on our sofas. This house is meant for the lives of all of the children to be as free and as fun-filled as possible. And you know, if there’s a spot here, a spot there, big deal. The laughter, the squeals, the running, the food throwing, the toy playing is worth a spot or two.”
Reflecting on his four decades in show business, Winkler informed PEOPLE earlier this month that he recognized spending too many years restraining himself due to severe self-doubt stemming from his dyslexia. He emphasized the significance of taking risks.
“You have to jump off the precipice and just trust you’re going to fly,” he remarked, recollecting a time when acting roles were scarce, and he had a family to provide for and a mortgage to pay. Embracing that vulnerable position ultimately guided him toward new career opportunities.
“What am I going to do?” he recalled wondering at the time. “And then somebody suggested I become a producer. I start off saying, ‘I can’t do it. I’m dyslexic. I have no idea what the business is. I can’t do it.’ And then finally you say, ‘Oh, just shut up and try.'”
“So, I think shut up and try is the [lesson],” he continued. “It sounds simple, but it might be the most important lesson that I could pass on to somebody.”
Henry Winkler’s memoir, “Being Henry: The Fonz …. and Beyond,” hits the shelves this Tuesday and is available wherever books are sold.