The Fonz is coming to Vancouver, and he wants to teach your kids to read

Henry Winkler, pictured in February 2014. Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Henry Winkler, better known to many as The Fonz on the 1970s sitcom Happy Days fame is heading to Vancouver, and he couldn’t be happier.

Winkler is heading to the city for the upcoming Vancouver Fan Expo, and took a moment to chat with The Jon McComb Show‘s Niki Reitmayer about what attracts him to the city and what he’s been doing since Happy Days went off air.

LISTEN: The Fonz is a fan of Vancouver

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Winkler is no stranger to Vancouver. He spent a good deal of time in the city as a producer on the original MacGyver when the show was filmed here in the 1980s and 1990s.

“I love Vancouver,” Winkler said.

“Even in the speed of its growth, Vancouver has always been a welcoming city. And a delicious city.”

READ MORE: Henry Winkler to be honoured at Banff festival

On that latter point, Winkler said he always makes a point of stopping in at the Granville Island Market while in town, on the hunt for a particular fruit bread he can’t get anywhere else.

While the New York-born Winkler is best known for his role as a Arthur Fonzarelli, Happy Days‘ memorable leather-clad greaser, he’s since directed a good deal of his energy into writing books for children.

Winkler’s books address dyslexia, something he said he suffered through unknowingly as a child. Penguin Random House

It’s a topic particularly dear to his heart: Winkler is dyslexic, something he didn’t know when he was growing up.

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Now, through his books and at events like the fan expo, he feels he has a message to share.

“What I tell most children is that they are not defined by how they do in school,” Winkler said.

“They have brilliance in them, and its their job to find that brilliance and then give it to the world as a gift. Just because you learn differently doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. You just learn differently.”

His children’s books — a series that focuses on the trials and tribulations of Hank Zipper, “the world’s greatest underachiever” — address dyslexia, and Winkler said he often hears from people they have touched.

“What I’m proudest of, outside of my children and my grandchildren, are the books,” Winkler said.

READ MORE: The Fonz gives Captain Kirk a thumbs-up

“Because kids write [to me] and say, ‘I laughed so hard my funny bone fell out of my body,’ and, ‘How did you know me so well?'”
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Winkler is now involved as an executive producer on the MacGyver reboot, and says he’s also filming a travel show with George Foreman, William Shatner and Terry Bradshaw.

But if you’re heading to the fan expo to see him, don’t be afraid to approach him about Happy Days; Winkler isn’t a celebrity that runs from his old roles.

“The Fonz introduced me to the world. I sent my kids to college, I put food on the table, I have a roof over my head. I am in deep gratitude to the Fonz.”

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