Henry Winkler wears numerous hats, but his grandfather’s hat is his favorite. The brilliant actor just became a grandfather for the sixth time and is determined to continue to be an entertaining grandparent. Life has taught him to pay attention to his family, and possibly since it was not something he loved as a youngster, he does it on a regular basis.
Henry Wrinkler had a difficult upbringing. He was born with dyslexia to critical parents who placed too much emphasis on school, which was the one area in which he did not thrive. They were occasionally harsh to him about it, even calling him “Dumm Hund,” which translates to “stupid dog.”
They were sure that he was not living up to his full potential and was too sluggish to do so. As a result, he was grounded for most of his high school career. When asked for a remembrance of his mother in an old interview, Wrinkler said that he only remembered her laughing twice.
He hadn’t forgotten; it was simply the way things were. The first time she laughed was when they tickled her into a closet, and the second time was when she discovered a humorous innovation while reading an article one day.
Winkler described his mother as the type of lady who exploded at the slightest insult. It all had a major impact on who he would become. His tragic background was dreadful, but it inspired Winkler to become a better dad.
Winkler has little or no childhood memories in comparison to other children. When his peers talked about what they had been up to with their families, Winkler frequently had little to add.
He had no nice recollections of his parents, and he never saw his grandparents because they were all sent to concentration camps. Winkler, now a grandfather, understands how enjoyable it is to spend time with his grandchildren and has voiced sadness over growing up without his grandparents.
Wrinkler’s dyslexia was so bad as a child that he couldn’t even read a book correctly, and the only subject he wasn’t horrible at in school was “lunch.” However, neither he nor his family realized what it was at the time.
Winkler was proud of his parents for getting away from the Holocaust and raising him and his siblings well, but he also said that they were very hard on him emotionally.
Wrinkler didn’t understand he wasn’t stupid until he was 31 years old. When his stepson, Jed, was tested for dyslexia, he discovered he had it as well. It turned out that all three of his children had it as well, but they caught it early on before it harmed the children’s self-esteem.
Wrinkler has two children with his wife, Stacey. When he was portraying The Fonz on “Happy Days” in 1976, they met. He first saw her in a store, dressed in purple parachute pants and with blazing red hair, and all he could think about was how lovely she looked.
When he returned to the store the next week, she was still there, so he decided to make his move. Wrinkler asked Stacey if she wanted to have a Coke, but he also mentioned that he needed to make a brief detour to get a wedding gift.
When she heard that, Stacey responded that she was not a “gift service,” but she did not walk away. She ultimately caved, and they walked across the street to grab ginger ales. It was the start of something great, and Stacey, already a mother of one moved into Wrinkler’s house with her son a few weeks later.
They ultimately married in 1978 and had two additional children, Zoe and Max. Stacey had been by Winkler’s side ever since and was present when he was recently honored with an Emmy for his work on “Barry.” Speaking about their lengthy relationship, Stacey said:
“The most amazing thing is to be able to grow with someone.” We aren’t the same people we were before we married. “But some of the principles you hold dear are still intact.”
Stacey also acknowledged that it requires effort. She stated that there would be moments when things appeared to be off, but both partners must strive harder to overcome them rather than give up. The proud woman has had her share of problems with her husband, but they now look forward to spending every day together.
He is not at all like his parents.
Given how difficult his life was, it’s no wonder that Wrinkler is parenting his children differently. He and his daughter Zoe discussed their parenting styles on a podcast on which they both appeared.
Zoe talked about her youth, saying that her family only had one rule: speak the truth if you don’t want to get in trouble. Her parents always let her defend herself with the truth, and the back-and-forth she had with them was beneficial to her as a youngster.
According to Zoe, her father was highly aware of what was going on in her life, and the climate in their family fostered trust and transparency.
Her parents were the first to find out when she was 17 and lost her virginity to a boy who refused to call her thereafter. They consoled her and took her to a Russian dance to cheer her up.
Zoe, who has worked hard to adopt the same kind of parenting into her family with her husband, says her father’s experience with his parents differed from hers.
His father, Harry Irving Winkler, was the head of an international timber firm, and his mother, Ilse Anna Maria, worked for the same company as her husband.
They wanted Winkler to work for them, but his dyslexia held him back and put him under a lot of strain. Winkler lauded his parents for escaping the Holocaust and raising their children well, but he described them as emotionally devastating.
As a result, Wrinkler is a better father to his children. Despite the fact that all three of the children in his care had dyslexia, he has been patient and helpful, unlike his parents.
Wrinkler now has six grandchildren and has learned a lot about raising children. He feels that in most child-adult relationships, the adult’s ability to listen is lacking.
At 77, the “Happy Days” actor likes being a grandfather. When he appeared on Kelly Clarkson’s show, he explained how he was taken in just by spoon-feeding his newest grandchild. He revealed that he enjoyed feeding the toddler mashed bananas with a spoon.
He even mentioned that he cries when he thinks about it, which is another reason many people believe he is the ideal grandparent for any child. He pays attention to his grandchildren and likes to play with them, but he never goes against the rules that their parents have set.
He has even gone so far as to request that the regulations be verified before taking action. Wrinkler believes in structure yet wants to accept parents’ visions for their children.
Wrinkler can play with his grandchildren without worrying about their parents. The elderly actor brings kids to McDonald’s, has been seen on their TikTok videos, and even sings to them. When he is not with them, he communicates with them via Facetime or sends them keepsakes from his trips.