Royal Pains Henry Winkler Interview

February 26, 2011

He will forever be known as The Fonz to me but having the opportunity to do an interview with Royal Pains Henry Winkler gave me the chance to know the man behind the beloved character. It was such an amazing experience and I am going to tell you all about it when you keep reading. There are some pictures and a video for you to check out too.

Henry Winkler

I recently had the honor of participating in a Royal Pains Henry Winkler interview Q&A session. As you may or may not know Henry now stars as the not so good father of Hank and Evan on the USA hit show. It is a role that he excels at but then again when isn’t there a role that Winker kicks but at?

For the those of you who don’t know much about Henry’s latest acting gig let me tell you a little bit about what he had to say about it. Like for example how he got it which is quite the interesting story. Apparently the shows producer, Andrew Lenchewski was sitting at dinner next to Henry’s dentist and his dentists wife who overheard Andrew talking that he was looking for the father for Royal Pains. Henry’s dentist’s wife was a fan of the show she said, “Oh, you know who it should be? Henry Winkler.” Low and behold soon there after Winkler had breakfast with Michael and Andrew and they asked him if he wanted to join the cast. The rest as they say is history.

Playing Eddie, who is basically a deadbeat dad, does have its challenges as Eddie is so different from Henry. One of those challenges Winkler revealed is when he is less than nice to his onscreen son Evan played by the super talented Paulo Costanzo. However what he considers his biggest challenge is his needs to make sure he is toe-to-toe with his other cast members because they are all really good, his words. I found that such a cool thing to say because we all know that Winker is talented enough to go toe-to-toe with anyone in the biz.

If you have seen the show you know that the chemistry between all its stars is outstanding and Henry revealed that what you seen on screen is how it is off screen. He was like “What you see is what you get. You cannot lie; the camera does not lie.” He gave further kudos to his other on screen son Mark Feurstein when he said he truly believed some of his best work on television was his scenes with Mark. Pretty big compliment considering Winkler’s extensive career but I have to say as a fan of the show I agree. When Henry and Mark are in a scene it is nothing short of spectacular.

Although we all wanted to know about the show what we really wanted to know about was Henry and he was more than happy to share. He even talked about what it was like to be awarded the Order of the British Empire, which is so freaking cool. Henry let us in on how it all went down, which I think you should here in his exact words.

I got a letter that said, “You must keep this a secret. If the Queen decides to give you an award, would you accept it?” I said, “Can I say yes I would.” I would be okay with that. Then six weeks later I get a letter saying, “The Queen of England has graciously agreed to confer on Henry Winkler the order of the British Empire,” for the work that I do in England with children who learn differently. My books, Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Underachiever that I co-write with Lynne Oliver, are popular in the UK and I go over there to tour for the books. I’ve spoken to, I want to say a hundred thousand students over there. It was my work with children who learn differently that got me to this wonderful honor.

Talk about an amazing honor, wow was all I could say when heard that.

After hearing the story the subject quickly turned to current writing projects he is working on. He just finished the Hank Zipzer series, 17 novels total. Also he and Lynne just finished the first novel of their brand-new series for Scholastic, which will be out in 2012. It is a whole new series of for kids, very funny and the underpinning of it is about bullying.

When I got my chance to ask Henry a couple of questions I was seriously in awe, even a little tongue tied if you will. Being the fabulous guy he is, I was quickly put at ease as we began our discussion about the best place to get a burger in New York City. He said his fave is The Burger Joint in the Parker Meridien Hotel. I agreed it was good but revealed that P.J. Clarkes’s is my fave. After that I felt like I was talking to one of my pals and asked him these two questions, I was only supposed to get one but Henry wanted to make sure all our questions were answered so he let me ask two.

Rachelle: Do you have a dream project or dream role that you would like to either work on or play.
Henry Winkler: Wow, that’s, a good question. I would love to play a mute that I would have to communicate everything only through my body without words. I’ve thought about that for a very long time. When I was younger, I wanted to be Zorro. But I’ve given that up. My dream really is to continue working and to be finished with acting before acting is finished with me.

Rachelle: How you got started into acting.
Henry Winkler: The old repertory theater. I made 120, 172 dollars a week as an actor at the Yale Repertory theater after graduating from the Drama School. And from there itjust grew, but that was my very first professional job, June 30, 1970 in East Hampton, Long Island, at the John Drew Theater, the Yale Repertory Theater did a Summer of Story theater.

Thankfully the conversation with the group did not end with my questions. I got to learn so many more things about Winkler like, his secret to aging well is simply good genes. I also learned that The Sure thing was the first movie his movie company ever produced. Since Henry has had such an accomplished career you might think he would have a favorite role that he has played but the doesn’t. When asked he said he didn’t have one he cherished them all.

I can not express enough what a great pleasure it was to get the chance to interview Henry Winkler. The man is seriously one classy guy who is also probably one of the nicest people in show business. I want to leave you with one last thing that I learned about Winkler. He has anamazing attitude about his struggles with dyslexia as well as the disease itself. Henry even said the beautiful statement “no matter how a child learns, their brilliance has nothing to do with that. Because it is difficult for them, it does not mean that they are not brilliant” I thought that quite was moving and truly speaks to what kind man he is.

Henry Winkler 2Henry Winkler 3Henry Winkler 4Henry Winkler 5Henry Winkler 6

Photos: M. Barraza/Nikki Nelson/Ivan Nikolov/Ray Filmano

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2 Responses to “Royal Pains Henry Winkler Interview”

  1. 1
    Sandy Says:

    Awesome job!

  2. 2
    sarah Says:

    That must have been awesome to talk to him!