Keynote Address: A Conversation with Henry Winkler

Friday, May 23
7:30 – 9 a.m.

WinklerMugGet to know the man inside the leather motorcycle jacket; Henry Winkler discusses his personal life, his career and how he has overcome obstacles.

Winkler’s portrayal of "The Fonz" for 10 seasons on "Happy Days" (1974-84) made him one of the most recognized actors in the world. He won two consecutive Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Comedy Series (1976 and 1977), and three Emmy nominations in the same category. He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the leather jacket the character wore has hung in The Smithsonian since 1980. "Fonzie’s" lunch box was recently added to the exhibit.

In 2003, he began writing a series of children’s novels with his partner, Lin Oliver, entitled, "Hank Zipzer: The World’s Greatest Under-Achiever." The books are inspired by Winkler’s struggle throughout his education due to his learning challenges and have appeared on several Best Seller lists including The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, among others. Continuing his love for children’s books, Winkler released the first installment of a new series in January 2012 entitled "Ghost Buddy #1: Zero to Hero."

In 2011, he published a collection of anecdotes and heartfelt observations, "I Never Met an Idiot on the River." The book is a collection of the lessons and photos Winkler gathered while fly fishing in Montana.

Behind the scenes, Henry has also made his mark as a producer and director. To date, he has produced over 20 TV series and specials. Winkler’s film and television credits include "The Water Boy," "Scream," "Holes," Fox’s highly acclaimed series "Arrested Development"; NBC’s "Third Watch," NBC’s "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and ABC’s "The Practice." In 2001, Winkler starred on Broadway in Neil Simon’s "The Dinner Party," marking his return to the Broadway stage after an absence of 30 years.

As Winkler became increasingly visible, he found that he could use his position to help others, particularly children. Some of the groups with which he is associated includes honorary chairman of United Friends of the Children; founding member of the Children’s Action Network; co-host of the annual Cerebral Palsy Telethon; National Chairman of the annual Toys for Tots campaign; the first National Honorary Chairman of the Epilepsy Foundation of America; The National Committee for arts for the handicapped; the Special Olympics; and the Los Angeles Music Center’s Very Special Arts Festival for Children.