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Review of Being Henry: The Fonz...and Beyond

More About Being Henry


From Emmy-award winning actor, author, comedian, producer, and director Henry Winkler, a deeply thoughtful memoir of the lifelong effects of stardom and the struggle to become whole.


Henry Winkler, launched into prominence as “The Fonz” in the beloved Happy Days, has transcended the role that made him who he is. Brilliant, funny, and widely-regarded as the nicest man in Hollywood (though he would be the first to tell you that it’s simply not the case, he’s really just grateful to be here), Henry shares in this achingly vulnerable memoir the disheartening truth of his childhood, the difficulties of a life with severe dyslexia, the pressures of a role that takes on a life of its own, and the path forward once your wildest dream seems behind you.


Since the glorious era of Happy Days fame, Henry has endeared himself to a new generation with roles in such adored shows as Arrested Development, Parks and Recreation, and Barry, where he’s been revealed as an actor with immense depth and pathos, a departure from the period of his life when he was so distinctly typecast as The Fonz, he could hardly find work.


Filled with profound heart, charm, and self-deprecating humor, Being Henry is a memoir about so much more than a life in Hollywood and the curse of stardom. It is a meaningful testament to the power of sharing truth and kindness and of finding fulfillment within yourself.


More About Henry Winkler


Henry Winkler is an actor, producer and director. He is probably most famous for his role as the Fonz in the 1970s US television sitcom, Happy Days. But if you ask him what he is most proud of, he would say, "Writing the Hank Zipzer books with my partner, Lin Oliver." He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Stacey, their three children and two dogs.


My Thoughts on Being Henry


I am not an eager consumer of celeb memoirs but when Being Henry was published, I couldn't resist. Sure, I wanted to know more about The Fonz I had grown up with but I also remembered Henry Winkler as the author of the Ghost Buddy books that I read to my son when he was a basketball fan like the main character but NOT a reading fan. I was hoping there would be more about Henry Winkler's life beyond his acting on Happy Days.


Happily, I was rewarded with a book with stories of Winkler's childhood, academic struggles, romantic missteps, career stalls. This was an incredible story written in a way that made Winkler feel like a close friend telling you the story of his life. At times I did have a few "is this guy for real?" moments because Winkler seemed so...charming and faultless. But overall it was an encouraging story I am glad I read. It is the type of story you will be happy to have experienced, even if you never heard of The Fonz. It is the story of a man reinventing himself, over and over again, and facing his shortcomings - something we are all faced with in our lifetimes.


A Little Extra


Henry Winkler is the author of dozens of books and, after reading his memoir, I am even more sure that they aren't just books with his name slapped on them. I believe he actually contributed to their creation. They are creative, fun, and will grab the attention of little boys (and girls) who have never even heard of Happy Days. My son enjoyed Ghost Buddy: Zero to Hero but there is also the Hank Zipzer series, Detective Duck, underachievers, aliens and even humorous anecdotes about...can you believe it....fly fishing.


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