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'Happy Days' Star Henry Winkler is Honored by Queen Elizabeth II

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 15th 2011 6:15AM
Henry Winkler is Awarded the OBEThe Fonz finally got his due yesterday as he was awarded one of Britain's highest civilian honors.

Actor Henry Winkler was given an honorary O.B.E. (Order of the British Empire) in a ceremony at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.

The citation reads: "Henry Winkler, the well-known American actor and director, has been made an Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his services to children with dyslexia and special educational needs."

Winkler, who was diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult, has spent much of the last two years touring the U.K. educating schoolchildren, educators and policy makers about dyslexia and other learning difficulties. He said he is "very honored, very proud" to have been awarded the honorary O.B.E.

According to the British Embassy, non-British nationals may receive "Honorary" awards for their important contribution to British interests. "All British honours are awarded on merit, and honorary awards are conferred by HM The Queen on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary. The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire was founded in 1917."

In a statement, Winkler said "My goal when I started working with children was never to bring accolades on myself, but instead to change how people think about those around them for whom learning is a struggle. I am flattered to have had my work recognised in this manner, and hope to continue showing kids that their learning difficulty isn't a disability."

Winkler has published 17 titles in his 'Hank Zipzer' children's book series, which features a fourth-grade dyslexic boy. Zipzer's adventures are based on Winkler's own childhood experiences of struggling at school with learning difficulties and subsequent bullying.

Despite recent roles in 'Royal Pains,' 'Children's Hospital' and 'Arrested Development,' Winkler will always be best-known in the U.K. for his portrayal of Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli in classic sitcom 'Happy Days,' which ended in 1984.

He told 'BBC Breakfast' that everywhere he goes people still ask him to do Fonzie's trademark catchphrases, which he takes as a "great compliment" after all these years.

However, his charity work and annual stints playing Captain Hook in panto have brought him a whole new generation of British fans including, it seems, Her Majesty the Queen.

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Best Show on TV,The FONZ reminds me of my wonderful youth

March 04 2013 at 8:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You know, he just seems like a genuinely nice decent guy trying to give back or “play forward” the many blessings he’s had in his life. I wish other celebrities like Charlie Sheen et al would take a clue and follow in his footsteps.

September 15 2011 at 1:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott Cooper

Sir Fonz.

September 15 2011 at 7:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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