Henry Winkler: ‘I’ve had an extraordinary career yet I was told I’d never achieve anything’

Happy Days star Henry Winkler has told how proud he is to have had a successful acting career, after being told as a child her would never amount to anything.

The 69-year-old actor struggled at school but was not diagnosed with dyslexia until his thirties. Henry is currently starring in CBBC show Hank Zipzer, based on his books about a boy with dyslexia, that he hopes will inspire other children.

Henry said: “I was told I would never achieve. I’ve had a pretty extraordinary career, and spelling is something that I can’t do for all of my life.”

Henry Winkler as Mr Rock in Hank Zipzer with Nick James as Hank
Henry Winkler as Mr Rock in Hank Zipzer with Nick James as Hank (Matt Squire/BBC)

He added: “I’m blessed. A lot of men my age are sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring, and I’m having this wonderful life, being able to do what I dreamt of doing when I was seven.

“Last night, I’m having a sandwich in my hotel, a man comes up and says, ‘My daughter read Hank Zipzer, every one of them. She just graduated university with honours, she’s dyslexic but she got strength from Hank’. Oh my, what a compliment that is.”

Henry, who also appeared in Arrested Development, has been making the most of his downtime while filming the show in Yorkshire, with cinema and fishing trips, and the occasional high tea.

Henry Winkler as Mr Rock in Hank Zipzer
Henry Winkler as Mr Rock in Hank Zipzer (Matt Squire/BBC)

“I just went to Headingley, the student town just outside Leeds,” he said. “It was the last day and a lot of the students were dressed up in costume and I met a lot of the kids on the street, and these young college kids went, ‘Oh my gosh we love Happy Days, and Arrested Development, and The Waterboy!’ And the little kids come up and talk to me about the books.”

“So wowee. I’m grateful.”

Hank Zipzer returns to CBBC on Thursday, August 13.