Winkler is an actor, director,
author and producer. He is best
known for playing the iconic role of
“Fonzie” on the 1970s sitcom Happy
Days. Originally his part was
secondary, but after just a few
episodes, “Fonzie Fever” swept the
After Happy Days, Winkler formed his
own production company and went on
to produce the successful television
series Ryan’s Four and MacGyver, as
well as directing the film Memories
of Me (1988). Continuing his diverse
acting career, he has performed in
such films as the teen horror hit
Scream (1996), The Waterboy (1998)
starring Adam Sandler, the
Emmy-winning television series The
Practice and Arrested Development.
In collaboration with Lin Oliver,
Henry produced a series of 17
children’s books about a young boy
who is dyslexic, Hank Zipzer, the
“world’s greatest underachiever.”
Winkler also has the learning
disability, which was not diagnosed
until he was 31. Winkler
and Oliver have recently released
the first installment, “Zero to
Hero,” of a new book series called
Henry is also ambassador for the
Open Arms Campaign supporting people
living with upper limb spasticity
(ULS), which affected his mother
after her stroke in 1989.
Editor-in-Chief Gary Barg sat down
with Henry Winkler to talk about the
Open Arms Campaign, and caring for
ourselves as we care for our loved
Gary Barg: Let me
start by saying, Welcome, Mr.
Gary Barg: I
know that you have an OBE Knighthood
from the Queen of England, but you
are also the Ambassador for the Open
Arms Campaign to help educate people
about upper limb spasticity [ULS].
How did you get involved in the
Well, my mother had a stroke in ‘89
causing upper limb spasticity.
I saw what happened to her, and then
I saw what happens when you have a
brand new tool to help possibly
alleviate the upper limb spasticity.
From listening to all the doctors
I’ve toured with, I’ve learned that
upper limb spasticity often develops
about three or four months after a
stroke when the patient is home. The
regular visits are over; maybe even
the physical therapy, and the
secondary muscles of the arms
compensate, take over and seize up.
And you’ve seen it a million times.
You’ve seen a hand that is crumpled.
An arm that is twisted and frozen
against the body. A palm that
is closed and the finger-nails are
growing into the palm. And that is a
generalized view of upper limb
spasticity. It works on the
ego because it’s unsightly.
People judge the body because the
body is different.
Gary Barg: Right.
I’ve seen the results of this
therapeutic use of Botox with my own
eyes and it’s pretty incredible to
me. It is a pleasure to go around
and talk about this and just bring
the information to caregivers,
doctors and patients and let them
decide together if it is right for
them. You don’t get the use of your
arm back—that is a whole other
therapy if it comes back; but it’s
easier to live with. It’s less
painful. It is easier for the
caregiver to help you get dressed.
Without the therapy, people would
have to buy a shirt, a dress or a
t-shirt three to four sizes too big
for the person just to get their arm
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