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The Henry Winkler Interview (Page 1 of 3)

An Interview with Henry Winkler

Henry WinklerHenry 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 nation. 
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 Ghost Buddy.
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 ones.
Gary Barg: Let me start by saying, Welcome, Mr. Ambassador.
Henry Winkler: Thank you.
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 campaign?
Henry Winkler:  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.
Henry Winkler:  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 through.


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