Henry Winkler officially Most Excellent, receives honorary OBE


Image Credit: Zanyasan Tanantpapat

Henry Winkler is often called the Nicest Man in Hollywood, but now he’s also known as an Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). He was awarded the honor from the Queen (via British Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald, pictured with Winkler) this week in recognition of his services to children with dyslexia and special educational needs. According to the British Embassy in Washington, he’s spent much of the last two years touring the U.K. to educate about dyslexia and other learning difficulties. Winkler, who was diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult, is also the author of 17 children’s books centered on Hank Zipzer, a boy with dyslexia who overcomes his struggles at school and with bullies.

There are two things I love about the press release: One, that Happy Days the show is never actually mentioned, although Sheinwald sneaks in a reference (“Henry Winkler is living proof that difficulties can be overcome and that for those suffering disability and self-doubt, happy days can nevertheless lie ahead”). And two, the sense of formality that insures you will also not see the words “the Fonz” or “Fonzie” (“Mr. Winkler’s portrayal of Arthur Fonzarelli garnered him two Golden Globes and three Primetime Emmy nominations”). What I love about this in general is that it’s just another wonderful, unexpected line on Winkler’s résumé. It’s kinda like the first time you read that he was an executive producer on MacGyver or heard that he saw the short film that Better Off Dead… writer/director Savage Steve Holland had made about having suicidal thoughts after his high school girlfriend dumped him for the captain of the ski team and gave him an office so he could write it as a feature. It’s easy to just think of Winkler as “The Fonz” instead of as a man who’s also done multiple Adam Sandler movies, Arrested Development, and Childrens Hospital among other things (like wear orange shirts on Royal Pains). Every now and then we like to stop and remember.

Read more:
Henry Winkler talks ‘Royal Pains’ and ‘Childrens Hospital’
EW Archives: Henry Winkler remembers ‘Happy Days’ and the years he spent in the leather jacket
The 50 Greatest TV Icons of All Time

Comments (44 total) Add your comment
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  • Stevie

    all you spaceys and christian bales and on-set lager than life divas – look at this nice man.
    “heyyyy” to you, henry.

    • james

      I am a mature and air force man. i just think here is a good place to meet friends. i just wonder if i can meet a sweet girl there, because i wanna have a long relationship..i uploaded my hot photos on —-[Нimillionaires–c o m]—-under the name manuel2011 , maybe you want to check out my photos firstly!

    • Jake

      Bale actually donates a large chunk of his money to childrens’ charities.

  • Bob Loblaw


    • George Sr.

      He’s a lot more competent than you can imagine.

  • Lucille Bluth

    He’s very good.

    • Diana

      LOL… ahhhh…I remember that show…..Arrested Development…. now that’s entertainment!

    • Dinijab

      I loved when he jumped the shark on AD.

  • Juan Carlos Ruiz

    …. whoah.

    • Just sayin


  • Jason D

    Its a shame he’ll never be called sir henry winklerwith not being a british citizen but he deserves this…from one brit, its nice to have you amongst our numbers, an MBE would have been better, like making him an honorary british citizen

    • Drawde

      True, but he can use the title “Henry Winkler, OBE” If he later becomes a citizen of the Commonwealth he can then be Sir Henry Winkler, OBE.

      • Tom

        Think of the taxes though.. ooh

      • Gripper

        To be Sir Henry Winkler, he would have to receive a knighthood. OBE and MBE are slightly lesser honours and would not make you a Sir even if he was a citizen of the Commonwealth. This doesn’t detract from the recognition, well done Henry!

  • ibrad

    Is it just me or the guy behind him kinda looks like Ralph Malph ?

  • Tom

    so, how does this compare to Harvey Weinstein’s CBE (Commander of the British Empire) award?

    • R.D.

      Weinstein got a higher award. He can wear a military-type uniform when he goes out in public (if they can tailor one to his big oogly hide)

      And thanks Ibrad above for asking (pointing to the guy in uniform) WHAT ABOUT *THAT* GUY??

  • Potsie

    I think it is awesome that they choose to honor Henry in this manner. He has spent a great deal of his time and money in these last years doing something wonderful for children. It is a shame his American citizenship prevents this award from being anything other than honorary, it would be neat to see him introduced from now on as “Sir Henry” Well done Sir!

    • Just sayin

      Why is it a shame? DO you think he cares? No he doesn’t. And that is why he is a great guy. He does it from the heart, not for attention.

  • Jimzcarz

    Sir Fonzi

  • Jo

    I love this guy, and everything he does. He is truly a class act.

  • asdf

    And now for your entertainment I give you Henry Winkler, covered with bees.

    • asdf

      (in little nicky voice) Sorry Henry.

  • Rala

    Don’t hate me, but Mr. Winkler was given the OBE because of his “Happy Days” fame. Upside is celebrities make good causes visible – this article read by?

    • Mary

      You are obviously a moron. Read the article. Nobody gives a crap about “Happy Days” all these years later.

    • chris

      i read this article because i have an eight year old son who has dyslexia. there are few resources for this condition (i refuse to call it a disability!) and someone famous calling attention to it is sometimes just what is needed. hank zipper helps my child understand that he is NOT alone and not an idiot! other people feel and see and process just like he does.

  • Stu

    Now more than ever, Fonzie is very cool. Thank you Mr. Winkler for showing that there are celebrities who can make headlines for doing something positive. A real mench.

    • Rala

      Henry W. did and continues to do a lot of cool things, and it all started with the Fonz. Ehhhhh!

  • Carole Clarke

    He also played an FBI agent whose specialty was bank crimes on “Numbers” that was drummed out after 34 years for manufacturing losses done by a teenage thief trying to find his mother. A good lesson in how strong emotions can lead even a straight arrow type astray. Sadly, his fate was left hanging when the show ended after 6 years.

  • Marc

    Years and years ago, I watched Henry at a Special Olympics event on the UCLA campus. Away from the spotlight, he would give long, loving hugs to every special-needs kid who approached him. A beautiful human being. Loved him in “Night Shift” with Michael Keaton, by the way.

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