DRA­MATIC CLI­MAX

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could pay on time, you’d be the most tal­ented per­son I ever met,” he laughs. “I don’t know that he cared about the craft at all. But in the sec­ond sea­son he seems to have had an epiphany, like cel­lo­phane comes off his brain, and he now wants these chil­dren to get some­thing out of the classes.”

Since his roller­coaster ca­reer tra­jec­tory has taught him many lessons.

“When The Fonz was done in 1984 (af­ter 10 years), I never had a plan B. So, for about eight or nine years I couldn’t get hired be­cause I was seen as The Fonz. In fact, for years I was still get­ting 55,000 [fan] let­ters a week.”

He turned his tal­ents to work­ing be­hind the cam­era as di­rec­tor and pro­ducer on TV shows in­clud­ing new Wes An­der­son fi lm

“You know I can’t tell you any­thing about it,” he shrugs, be­fore fum­bling around in his pocket for his phone.

“Look,” he of­fers the mo­bile, by way of dis­trac­tion. “This is the great­est thing. My heart flew out of my body when I saw this photo of my grand­son dressed up as Fonzie.”

Try­ing valiantly to swal­low his emo­tion, clearly welling up at the sight, he adds, “Not only does he have great taste, but he loves his grand­fa­ther!”

Be­sides his ob­vi­ous pride in his fam­ily, Win­kler says his crown­ing achieve­ment in life was be­ing awarded an OBE by the Queen for his ser­vices to chil­dren with dys­lexia and spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional needs.

Mar­ried for 41 years to Stacy Weitz­man, the fa­ther of two has co-writ­ten 34 chil­dren’s novels with his wife.

“They are in seven or nine lan­guages and they were just con­verted into braille. They’re about me as a lit­tle boy, who strug­gled with every­thing. His glass is half full, but he just spills it ev­ery­where.” He pauses: “You see, I was very in­se­cure grow­ing up be­cause I had dys­lexia. I had a learn­ing chal­lenge, so I wasn’t good in math, I wasn’t good in read­ing. I can’t spell, even to­day, although I was great at lunch,” he chuck­les.

“If you have a learn­ing chal­lenge, there is an emo­tional com­po­nent where you have no self-image. I be­lieved that I was re­ally as stupid as ev­ery­one told me I was.”

An in­ter­na­tional trea­sure, Win­kler re­mains en­am­oured with

for mak­ing him a star; but grate­ful to for the chance to show the world what he’s re­ally got.

“I had a vi­sion of who I wanted to be an as ac­tor, but I just couldn’t get there. As an ac­tor

I felt stunted. But now, through at age 73, I’m able to taste some of what

I’d en­vi­sioned at 27,” he says.

“Now I have lived my dream and I’ve lived it big­ger than I ever imag­ined.”

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