Monday, October 1, 2007

Postcards from WeHo: Why I love Henry Winkler

I love Henry Winkler.

I don't just mean his work. Sure, he created one of the most legendary characters in television history, the Fonz, and more recently was freakin’ hilarious on “Arrested Development.” But that’s not why I love him. I love him because, fresh from my second Winkler sighting, I have decided he may be the most everyday-people of all the world’s TV legends.

My second Winkler sighting took place yesterday at the West Hollywood Book Fair, where I was on a panel plugging “Grammar Snobs” as well as my upcoming book, “Mortal Syntax.” I was wandering around the grounds and there was Henry, just sort of trekking his way across a grassy area, like a normal guy. (He looked really good, by the way, sort of healthy and invigorated.) A moment later, he was surrounded by two or three people who may have been friends or fans – you just couldn’t tell from how Henry was talking to them. It was like any group of friends standing around at any public gathering. Add to that the fact that Henry, in his gestures and facial expressions, just looked really nice – really real.

My first Winkler sighting was also at a book event. He was in an open courtyard at Dutton’s Brentwood Books to attend a book signing by writer Joe Keenan. Keenan, a former writer for “Frasier” who is now working on “Desperate Housewives,” was promoting his humor novel “My Lucky Star.” From what I could overhear at the signing, Winkler and Keenan were working together on some TV project and, as a friend of Keenan’s, Winkler had come out to “support his new book.”

Again, he was just sitting there like a guy who was perfectly prepared to talk to and be nice to anyone who might approach him.

Think about it: This is a guy who, over the last thirty years, has had to endure countless jillions of wiseacres thinking they’re incredibly clever for coming up to him and saying, “Heyyyy! Sit on it!” Yet he still mingles with the masses.

My fiancĂ©, Ted, affirms my Winkler-is-a-wonderful-guy suspicion. On a class trip when he was in grad school, Ted attended a taping of some show Winkler was working on. After the taping, Winkler came out and answered questions, let all the students get their picture taken with him, and, according to Ted, gave a talk to the aspiring filmmakers that was “very inspirational.”

That’s why I love Henry Winkler.

I have some more good stuff to share from the book fair, but right now I have some copy to edit. So, until they, “Heyyy. Sit on it.”

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