Itís always fun to talk with a television icon Ė
particularly one who you grew up watching. Iíd be a huge fan of
Henry Winkler even if his wasnít the first autograph that I ever got
from a celebrity, because when I was growing up he was the epitome
of cool as Arthur ďThe FonzĒ Fonzarelli on the smash hit sitcom
Of course, playing such a beloved character on television
can be both a blessing and a curse because it is hard for anyone to
look at the actor as any other character. Even though, as he
pointed out to me in the interview, he was almost nothing like Fonzie
in real life, for eight seasons he came into Americaís living rooms
as the most popular character in the most popular series on
television for much of that time. And, Winkler has it harder than
most. After all, the slang term for the moment when a television
show goes bad, ďjumping the shark,Ē refers to a specific scene that
Winkler performed on Happy Days Ė late in the series his
character had to ride a motorcycle over a tank
with a live shark.
So, while he has never had another role that hit the pop
culture zeitgeist like the Fonz, Winkler has kept on keeping on in
Hollywood for the 28 years since that series went off the air.
Winkler has played a long series of quirky roles and also pulled
the strings behind projects like the TV series MacGyver as a
Hollywood producer. Heís also found a huge group of outside
interests to keep him occupied, from writing to philanthropy.
In recent years, Winkler has been popping up more and more
often in films and television. His current character on the hit USA
Network series Royal Pains is one of his best yet. He has
spent the second season of the series playing Eddie R. Lawson, the
well-meaning con-man father of Hamptonsí concierge medical team Hank
and Evan Lawson (Mark Feuerstein and Paulo
Costanzo). Eddie is trying to get back into the good graces
of his estranged children, but at the same time his get-rich-quick
schemes keep landing him in trouble and disappointing his sons.
Recently we were fortunate enough to be one of the websites
to take part in a telephone conference call with Winkler to discuss
his role in the second season finale of Royal Pains. At
least that was the plan, though the avuncular actor was also more
than happy to sidetrack and discuss his iconic role on Happy Days,
the possible movie version of Arrested Development,
his career in films including his work on such classic 80s comedies as
Night Shift and The Sure Thing, fatherhood, his series
of childrenís books, his recent high honor from the Queen of
England, his lifelong battle with dyslexia, his charity work for
cerebral palsy, his love of fly-fishing in Montana, his favorite
current TV series, his trouble with Twitter and where to find the
best hamburger in New York City.
The famously friendly actor made a point of getting to know
each of the questioners, finding out about where they were from, a
bit about their lives, etc. We had to cut much of that from the
article just because it was of more interest to the participants
than their readers, however, some of it was so golden that we kept
it in even if it was a little off topic, like for example when another
questioner told him he was from Detroit and Winkler, unprompted,
came back with his feelings on Detroit rapper Eminem. Really, how
can you not use a quote from the Fonz about the Real Slim
How did you initially get
involved with working on
If Iím not mistaken this is exactly how it happened. The
producer, Andrew, was sitting at dinner and next to him was my
dentist and his wife. They overheard them talking that theyíre
looking for the father for Royal Pains. My dentistís wife
was a fan; she said, ďOh, you know who it should be? Henry
Winkler.Ē A little while later I had breakfast with Michael
Andrew [Lenchewski] who run the show Ė brilliantly I might add Ė and they asked
me if I would join the cast and I embarrassed myself in the
Ha ha, sounds like a good idea
though, you got the part.
You know what, my wife and I watched every episode; we were
appointment television viewers of the show before I ever got the
call to see if I was interested.
So you were a fan, then, huh?
Absolutely. As a matter of fact, I kept bringing up
details about the show, I probably embarrassed myself and
overwhelmed the producers, but I kept saying, ďWow, that car!
gets its air conditioning from the sun. Itís a solar car.
What do you find the most
challenging about bringing your character of Eddie to life on
That is a good question. If I had to pick something, the
challenge is to make sure that I am toe-to-toe with
[series regulars] Mark
[Feuerstein] and Paulo [Costanzo],
Jill [Flint] and Reshma
[Shetty] because they are really good.
They are the real deal
and I want to carry my weight.
Obviously Eddie is not a
character that youíre actually like in real life, but are there ways
that youíre similar to Eddie and in what ways are you different?
All right, letís see. If Iím similar to Eddie, I love my
children, I am misunderstood, I am annoying. I have not borrowed
$50,000 from my children and then not repaid them. I have not
turned my children into the FBI. Aside from that, itís, Iím so
On a side note, it was just
announced a few weeks ago that you were awarded the Order of the
British Empire soÖ.
Amazing, isnít that amazing?
Ö could you talk about it and
how it made you feel?
I got a letter that said, ďYou must keep this a secret.
the Queen decides to give you an award, would you accept it?Ē I
said, ďCan I say yes I would.Ē I would be okay with that. And then
six weeks later I get a letter saying, ďThe Queen of England has
graciously agreed to confer on Henry Winkler the order of the
British Empire,Ē for the work that I do in England also with
children who learn differently. My books, Hank Zipzer:
The Worldís Greatest Underachiever that I co-write with Lynne
Oliver, are also popular in the UK and I go over there to tour for
the books and Iíve spoken to, oh, I want to say a hundred thousand
students over there also. And so, my work with children who learn
differently is what got me to this wonderful honor
[from] the Queen.
Well, thereís such great
chemistry between you and Hank and of courseÖ
Yes, Paulo and, really when
youíre interacting with them itís like, a true father figure.
Yeah, honestly, what you see is what you get. You cannot
lie; the camera does not lie. And we had so far the most wonderful
time together and we donít talk about it a lot; you do it once for
the crew, you go through a scene then for the camera placement; you
go through the scene for where youíre going to be in the room, how
youíre going to move together. You go and you put your makeup on,
you go put your costume on. You come back and then you shoot it two
or three times and out of that come these unbelievably wonderful
scenes. I honestly believe that some of the best work Iíve done on
television are the scenes that I have done with Mark, you know, they
are so emotional and layered but also itís great writing. You know
everybody says that when I meet them on the plane or in an airport
of some place in America, people talk to me about Royal Pains
and they always talk about how much they enjoy everybody talking to
each other. It makes me happy.
Well, as a fan of the show and
also a star of the show, why do you think people keep tuning in to
Do you know what? I think because of what you said; I
think that they, first of all, I imagine in the middle of the winter
thereís this beautiful blue sky show that just takes you away to a
place you want to be. Number two, I think because it is well
written because after everything is said and done no matter how good
the actors are, if itís not on the page, thereís a famous
expression, if itís not on the page, itís not on the stage. If itís
not written well then we actors, itís hard to memorize; itís hard to
make real. Itís hard to get going, so I think that that combined
all together made me a fan.
Tell me, do you know if the
show has been renewed for next season?
Oh absolutely, I believe, if Iím not mistaken, the show is
the highest rated on USA and the third-highest rated show in all of
cable. I think USA when I saw them at the press junket in Los
Angeles, a few weeks ago, were just thrilled. So yes, weíre
renewed. I would not be surprised if weíre renewed for the fourth
Thatís really, really
fabulous. I have been a fan of the show since the very beginning.
Can I ask a question? Can you hear my answers to the
Yes I can.
So do you agree with me? Am I in the right area of why you
think the show is a hit?
Oh, absolutely. I think the
writing is absolutely stellar and the relationships between all of
you come across as so genuine. And, Mark is just so
Oh, my God, he is so adorable.
He has got more energy. There must be 15 people lying on a dog bed
because heís got all their energy. Curled up somewhere, Iím not
kidding. He is an incredible leader on that set, always filled
positively. And thatís not joke, I mean that just is the truth.
So tell me how do you envision
a different Eddie R. next season or will Eddie not be different?
Do you know what? I donít know that; I thought about that
and I donít try to second-guess the writers because they are so
precise. They are there all the time; the writer of the episode,
now the writerís room is in California, the set is on Long Island.
And the writer who writes the episode is flown out so that
they can be there on the set so that if you turn to them and you
say, ďOh, my gosh, I need to say something about this,Ē or, ďI canít
say that, but how about this,Ē they will rewrite on-the-spot.
Andrew and Michael are very clear and I think thatís another reason
that the show is so successful because you have to have a point of
view if youíre going to stick and those boys do.
What would you like to change
about your character if you could?
Iíd like to be in more episodes, thank youÖ. Iíll be here
all week, try the veal. No, I, thatís if I had to change, I would
like to be in all episodes.
Ah, well, we would love that,
Thank you, Iím just, Iím starting a write-in campaign.
Ha, ha, ha, ha, I will be the
I just started and Iím going to start a Twitter campaign.
What is your Twitter ID so I
can friend you, follow you?
Hwinkler4real. I try to write funny things. My friends Rob
Corddry or Rob Huebel, they write funny, funny things every day.
This morning I wrote, ďItís hard for some of us to say no when we
should.Ē I didnít get a lot of laughs.
Royal Pains having a health and medical theme Iím wondering how is
life when filming. Is the food healthy and exercise encouraged?
Well, you know what? Exercise is encouraged; I try to
exercise. I have literally walked on the treadmill once in the 90s
and Iím going to do that again in 2011.
So howís the food?
The food, on the set?
Well I will tell you the food on the set is not bad. Now
there are some caterers out there that are incredible, but because
we shoot in New York and I stay in New York for long stretches of
time, not only do I get to see my granddaughter, but I have found
the best hamburger in New York City, a great cheeseburger, which is
in Le Parker-Meridien Hotel and itís called The Burger Joint. So
if you like cheeseburgersÖ. It used to be PJ Clarkeís
[by Lincoln Center], but this one
has now overtaken it.
Good to know.
The little sides, I thought maybe we would be interested.
Iím sure a lot of people are
going to be interested in that little fact. And Iíve got to know,
what is your secret to aging well?
Wow I donít know. I would have to say genes; itís one of
the better things I got from my parents.
So you just got lucky.
Yeah. They didnít give me encouragement; they gave me good
Good Ö though right?
You know what? Iím thrilled to death. At least I donít
yet need a walker.
You were talking about aspects
of the character and how you play him and I was just wondering. In
order to bring a character to life Ö thereís got to be some kind of
point where you relate to him. So I was wondering, what do you like
most about Eddie and what do you like least?
Iíll tell you exactly what I like least first. It is so
difficult to look my son in the eye, to look Mark in the eye when he
says, ďYou left when mom was sick and we were nine and eleven.Ē And
I take no responsibility for that. That is the most difficult -
those are the most difficult moments to play because it is, first of
all, so against my grain and second of all, I particularly donít
like the character at the moment. What I like about doing him is
his zest for life. And he truly now has come to the point, I
believe, unless Iím proven wrong, and I will find out in subsequent
scripts, but heís come to the point where he really appreciates his
sons. Iíll tell you something else Iím not particularly fond of
Eddie about. That he dismisses Evan in order to get to Hank.
Thatís very hurtful when I do that, when I look in Paulo Costanzoís
eyes because Paulo is right there with you, at the moment. Heís
right in the moment with you when you are, and he takes it so
He looks like a wounded puppy.
He does and it just strikes right into my heart when I look
in his eye; Iím not kidding. No one has ever asked me that
question, thatís my answer.
As we come to the close of this
season, Eddie is caught between something of a rock and a hard place
Yes. Pretty much in a hard place.
He has to either actually be
less healthy or find a doctor to lie about him being less healthy in
order to stay with his boys.
Or he has to admit heís healthy and go to jail.
Personally, which direction would you prefer him to go? Do you
think he should do the time?
I canít tell you because if I do tell you, I will give away
Thursday night. And my producers will sue me. I mean literally
take me to court.
Youíre the first autograph I
I wrote away to
when I was a little kid and got an autographed picture
a few weeks later so Ö
It was always very special.
Also Iíve got to tell you, youíre the executive producer of my
favorite movie ever, The Sure Thing, too.
That was the first movie my company ever did and Roger
Birnbaum, the head of my company; he just took over MGM. He was the
head of Spyglass with his partner, Gary
and they just took over. I mean itís so amazing how the circle of
this business keeps going around.
Isnít it though? Now
obviously, for years you were known as Fonzie and thatís such an
iconic role Ö
Pretty much yesterday.
Yes exactly. But I thought itís
interesting how lately youíve been playing some very offbeat
characters like Eddie and your character in
Development. Is it fun to play very flawed characters after being best known
for a character who is sort of known for being so cool and perfect?
What is interesting is that I went to college and studied
drama. I went to drama school and got a masterís degree. So I
really wanted to be prepared; I really love my job. I am filled with
gratitude that I get to do my job. The Fonz was as far from me as
you could possibly be. Iím playing this tough Italian; Iím a short
Jew. He rode a motorcycle and I had trouble with a two-wheeler. So
thatís my job, is to create these people and make them come so to
life that Iím having fun and youíre having fun watching. So I
thoroughly enjoy Eddie and Iíll repeat it again because there is
this room of writers in Los Angeles and they are young and then
there are veteran writers in that room who could, and each one of
these people could run their own show. So when I say itís well
written, it, these people are great at what they do.
Now Christine Ebersole has also
always been a very underrated actress. Whatís she like to work
Iíll tell you what sheís like; she is a life force unto
herself and I was in my car, I listen to Sirius radio and I listen
to satellite and I listen to Broadway, musicals. She just
yesterday came into my car singing from Grey Gardens, which I
believe she won a Tony for and it was like the sun shot into my
car. You know, she is just fantastic. Did you see her on the
Kennedy Center awards singing?
No I missed that.
Yeah, sheís just brilliant.
Now I know you canít give away
anything, but I just wanted to make sure that with the problems that
Eddie is going through, you are going to be back for season three,
You know what, thatís my write-in campaign. Thatís what
Iím, Iím lobbying for.
I was wondering if you have any
new childrenís projects in the works.
We finished the Hank Zipzer series; we did 17
novels, and honestly, yesterday at 2:48 in the afternoon, Lynne
Oliver and I finished the first novel of our brand-new series for
Scholastic, which will be out in 2012. Weíre writing a whole new
series of for kids, very funny and the underpinning of it will be
I want to really thank you
because you really helped me help a friend through learning about
dyslexia, she struggled with it for quite a while. And felt very
ashamed of it and so wasnít aware about it and so Iíve learned about
your issues and used that to help her. I was wondering if you have
any resources coming out?
I donít have any resources because in each area there are
places, a lot of universities have entire departments dedicated to
kids who learn differently and they can lead you. What I know is
this, one out of five children have some sort of learning
challenge. Itís hereditary so youíre born with it. Itís not your
choice. You learn to negotiate it and what I have said and I will
say over and over and over again, no matter how a child learns,
their brilliance has nothing to do with that. Because it is
difficult for them, it does not mean that they are not brilliant.
Can you talk about your
progression as an actor from your first experience on a set and
compare it to your
experience? How much has changed and what elements are still the
Do you know what is interesting? Iíll tell you what has
changed. The size of the camera, the size of the lights, aside from
that, acting is acting is acting. The same process that I did in
1974 on Happy Days is the process that we do on Royal
Pains in 2011. That is absolutely the truth. Nothing changes
because the doing of it, the art of it, the tradition of it is
exactly the same. What has changed is on the set of Happy Days,
which was Stage 19 on Paramount lot, the same stage that Lucy used
when she did I Love Lucy. We had a camera that was so
gigantic it took three people to move the dolly and now the camera
is tiny compared and most of it is tape, which looks like film.
When I did the movie Click, with Adam Sandler, it was the
first time that they used the Genesis, which was the tape camera
designed to make movies. Now, today, they can shoot movies on your
home, you know, camera that you take photographs as a family with,
through Canon, I think. Isnít that amazing?
Yes. Now how would you
describe Eddieís relationship with Hank and Evan?
How would I describe it? Eddie wants Hankís approval.
Eddie has Pauloís
Ö approval and doesnít yet completely
My question goes back to your
writing, and I work at a library and I was wondering if you could
tell us how you got involved in writing books and what advice would
you give a young person who wants to be a writer?
Oh, thatís a good question. I got involved; someone said
to me, there was a lull in my acting career. Who knew there would
be a lull in your acting career? And he said to me, ďWhy donít you
write books for kids about your learning challenges?Ē I didnít
immediately picked up on it because I literally thought I have
nothing to say. I canít write a book; Iím stupid. I was told I was
stupid; I was lazy. Two years later he said the same thing and this
time I said, ďOkay,Ē and he introduced me to Lynne Oliver and since
2003 weíve been writing together. How we write is I go to her
office every day; it usually takes about two-and-a-half months to
write a novel. Theyíre 133 pages long. And I walk around her
office and she sits at the computer and we literally argue over
every word. We literally write it together and what I would say to
young people is this. There is more than one way to get to where
you want to go; thereís always somebody who can help you do what you
donít know how to do. And just sit in front of your computer if you
can use one and write five minutes a day; just write whatever comes
to your mind. And pretty soon, youíd be shocked at what you have.
Thanks. Iíve been a fan of
You show good taste.
Yes and youíre already answered
a bit about how being on a TV series has changed, but of all the
roles that youíve taken on in movies and film,
Wow, all right and this is the absolute truth, I donít have
a favorite. Every time I think of a project, I always think, ďWow,
this is great, no, no, no, this one is great.Ē Itís like my
children; I donít have a favorite. Iíll tell you what, I live with
gratitude. I wanted to do this since I was seven; Iím actually
still doing it and I earn a living doing this. I am so grateful I
donít even know how to explain it to you. That is the truth. If I
were to give you two words, I would give you tenacity, which helps
you get where you want to go and gratitude, which allows you not to
be angry when you get there.
Thatís wonderful. So is that
the advice you would give to someone wanting to go into acting?
Well I would also give them the advice of preparation. Do
you know there are so many young people they think Ė I donít know
what has gotten into the culture, but they think, oh, I can do that;
Iím just going to do that. I think if youíre going to do something
you want to be there for longer than a minute. You have to think of
yourself as a forest ranger. You plant a tree and you want to tend
that tree for the next 75 years.
You wrote a forward to a book
called The Sitcom Career Book [by Mary Lou
Belli and Phil Ramuno].
It was honestly probably the
most inspiring two pages Iíve read. Itís better than the actual
book, so I just wanted to thank you for that.
This is probably too early to mention, but I love taking
photographs. But Iím so dyslexic, Iíve never actually turned a knob
in my life on a camera. I took pictures while I fly-fished for
trout. And those are coming out in a book on May 1st. So that was
inspiring to me that that would actually happen.
My question was taken by the
last person, whatís your advice to actors?
You know what? My advice to actors is think of yourself as
pasta and throw yourself against the wall until it sticks.
I like that; Iíve never
actually heard that, thatís good. When you approach a scene, be it
a comedy or drama, what is the main thing that you do first?
The first thing I do is I have to read it very slowly
because reading is still difficult for me. But what I look for is
what do I want and from there, I then build. Because when you know
what you want you can get it and you have to figure out how to get
it with somebody elseís words on that page.
Given how Eddie faces a life in
prison, how challenging was it to play what heís forced to confront
internally, but also maintain a sense of humor?
His sense of humor keeps him buoyant and I think if he did
not con, put on the face on the world, he would explode and just
Now that your careerís evolved
into playing a father figure, in what ways can you now relate to Tom
Bosley in his job as an actor back then on
Well, he was a great dad, wasnít he? I mean, he was a
smart guy. I saw him on Broadway before I ever got to California.
I saw him in Fiorello!; I think he won the Tony. What Iíve
always said is that he was our father figure for ten years in
television, on television and he was our father figure in real life
And do you ever find yourself
looking back and relating to what he went through as an actor?
I do, but I also look back and I relate to being a dad just
from living through three grown children. You know, my youngest is
27, my daughter is 30 and my oldest is 39.
You talked about tenacity and
gratitude. What kept you going throughout the years to not allow
yourself to be stereotyped by the character?
Well, thereís a phrase that was first said in 1946 and my
whole life, when I give a speech, in public speaking, my speech is
based on it. Itís if you will it, it is not a dream. I now know
that is the truth, the cosmic truth. It just works, at least in the
western hemisphere, it is the truth
As a person youíre an
actor, producer, director, author, youíre a philanthropist Ė I donít
think you need to work. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Well, all of that gets me out of bed. I do need to work
because when you have a daughter with a credit card, trust me, you
need to work. I love my job. I love my job.
Regarding Eddie, heís kind of a
bad guy Ö.
Aw, aw, aw, aw, aw, heís not bad. He is misunderstood.
His heart is in the right place; his mind and his heart are just not
So what gets him out of bed in
I think a good Reuben gets him out of bed, a really great
I am a huge fan of your work on
Development. Itís one of my favorite shows, I
still think itís a shame it was canceled. I know the movieís still
in pre-production and it has been Ö.
Well let me just say this. All of the actors have said
yes. We are completely dependent on Mitch Hurwitz. He just did a
series with Ö.
Now maybe that the nature of that series
[Running Wilde, which was recently cancelled] has changed, maybe
he will now turn his attention to the movie.
So you are planning on
reprising the role of Barry Zuckerkorn?
I still have my chiffon underwear in the drawer waiting.
Iím glad to know that was
It was. Now, talk about understanding a character. I
donít know who the hell he is. All I do is say the words.
You say them very well, I have
to admit. You were always one of my favorite parts of the series.
Oh thank you.
I did get to see the preview
for this upcoming weekís episode and I noticed Eddie seems a little
George Bluth [the father in
Arrested Development, played by Jeffrey Tambor] to me.
I mean he has legal troubles, he kind of pits two sons against each
other, maybe doesnít always have the best attorneys and I just
wondered if youíve noticed that?
I never thought of that, but I want to tell you something;
if I could be as good as that particular actor, I would be in
heaven. What a great Ö being able to look at those two in that way.
I think thatís real, Iím going to remember that.
What has been your favorite
episode of Royal Pains so far?
I donít really have a favorite because I love all the
different scenes. I love the scene in the hospital cafeteria that
we just did. I love the scene at the table when I yell at Hank in
the outdoor restaurant. I love the scene in my house when he came
and he wouldnít have dinner and I gave him a kiss on the forehead,
which Mark was not ready for because I never rehearsed it. And you
see his reaction and it is to die for.
I have to say that the scenes
with Eddie and his sons have been my personal favorite and the most
heart wrenching at times Ö.
Would you please write that to the producers?
I will. Whatís going to be
coming up for you right now; whatís next?
Iím going to do a movie in Boston; I just canít tell you
which one yet, starting at the end of March. I am
hoping to go back to Royal Pains,
which Iím so excited about. And writing the new series for
Iím in Detroit
Ah, wonderful. Stand up as they say. Eminem, he is in a
class by himself.
Yeah, yes he is; he absolutely
is. It was great to hear your answer about
Iím such a fan of that show and your work on that
show in particular. So Iím so glad that you would be happy to be
involved in that when and if the movie moves forward. I was
wondering, you said you were a fan of
Royal Pains before you were on the show. I was wondering what other
shows youíre a fan of?
You know what I love? I love The Good Wife. I
think that is just a great show. The new, Chicago Code, Iím
enjoying. What is the, the comedy with the family?
Oh, my God, Modern Family. Thatís a killer. What
else do I watch? I love Royal Pains, we talked about that
yeah, and I like Rachel Maddow.
Thatís great. Well, I think
you should guest on
You do, huh? Ty Burrell [one of the stars of Modern
Family] was my son a few years ago in Out of Practice,
with Stockard Channing. Yeah and you know what else I like? You
know Burn Notice? I think thatís a really good show.
So one thing you havenít talked
about yet. I know youíve produced a lot. Can you talk about
working on MacGyver?
The greatest day of my producing life was when Richard Dean
Anderson walked in the door. We had met every handsome, wonderful,
star, leading man and then all of a sudden Richard Dean came in and
he couldnít read the script without his glasses. At that moment
when he was searching in his bag for his glasses he got the part
because he was flawed. He was not perfect; he was and then turned
out to be an unbelievable leader on the set for seven years. Iíve
got to tell you something else about it. The most difficult thing
Iíve ever done as a producer, trying to find sources for
One thing that I think about
you personally; youíre kind of a hero to our family, the work you do
with, especially with cerebral palsy and Special Olympics.
I just wondered if you could
talk a little bit about it? I mean, you
could just lend your name to it, but you get involved.
You know what happened? When I was doing Happy Days,
Leonard Goldenson was sill alive; the man who created ABC, who was
the founder of ABC. His daughter had cerebral palsy and he came to
me in my dressing room and he said, ďLook, I want to do this
telethon; weíve done it for one year kind of on a trial basis. John
Ritter does it because his brother has cerebral palsy; would you
consider being our co-host?Ē And I said, ďOkay, you know, the man
who found the network that Iím on asked me a favor, I donít think
Iím going to say no.Ē So I went and then we did it for like ten
years together, and, and I miss John every day, but thatís how I got
involved with that telethon and with helping CP.
Thank you so much for taking
the time to talk to us; this has been like the best call Iíve ever
Is that true?
Yeah, itís been fantastic; I
enjoyed the whole entire, itís just been amazing to learn so much
Thanks. Iím five-six and a half
I will put that and I do agree
with the Burger Joint being the best cheeseburger in New York, by
Itís great, isnít it?
I go there way too often.
Yeah, me, too.
So my question for you is do
you have a dream project or dream role that you would like to either
work on or play?
Wow, that is a good question. I would love to play a mute
that I would have to communicate everything only through my body
without words. So Iíve thought about that for a very long time.
When I was younger, I wanted to be Zorro. But Iíve given that up.
So my dream really is to continue working and to be finished with
acting before acting is finished with me. That is my dream.
How did you
get started into acting?
You mean as a professional? The Yale Repertory Theater. I
made $120, $172 a week as an actor at the Yale Repertory
Theater after graduating from the Drama School. And from there it
just grew, but that was my very first professional job.
1970 in East Hampton, Long Island, at the John Drew Theater, the
Yale Repertory Theater did a Summer of Story theater.
my very first job and I had a Pontiac LeMans with a bad oil tray or
something like that. I wanted to beat it into submission, this car,
brand-new, got it, didnít drive, hated it. Thatís the fact about
Iíve enjoyed listening to all
your questions and I think Iím older than most of the people that
youíve been talking to, but Iíve loved everything you done and my
particular favorite, Night Shift, I love Chuck Lovely, Chuck
Lovely has my heart.
You know Ron Howard said, ďYou can play either, just be in
the movie.Ē And I thought, well, I just played the Fonz for a lot
of years; Iím going to play Richie.
Thatís how I picked Chuck.
Iím from New England and I
know you shoot on Long Island for this wonderful series,
and if you could pick a spot, now the Hamptons are very richy
rich, but there are lots of lovely little townships and what not on
Long Island. If you could pick a spot, where would you be and what
you film there at your location, where do you fall in love, any
little small towns, areas that you could talk about?
I will tell you that Boston is a great city. Because it is
large enough to learn your independence and small enough to make
your own. Connecticut as a whole is a gorgeous state. I love the
lobster in Maine; New Hampshire is fun to drive through to get to
the lobster. But Iíve often thought, Iíve asked my wife this, where
would we live if we didnít live here?
Because I never really attached
to LA. My children were born here, my dogs are Los Angelinos, I
work here, but my heart is in New York. And my soul is in Montana
where I fly-fish for trout.
Interesting, you donít get
anxietal like a lot of New Yorkers do in the Big Sky country?
No I donít. As a matter of fact, I am in heaven. My, the
new book on May first is about what I have learned on the river that
I apply to my life.
Whatís the biggest fish you
Last summer, I caught a trout that was 25 inches long and 6
pounds. And Iím still secretly screaming inside that I caught him
and then of course I released him.
Oh, when you go to the
aquarium, do you, in your mind youíre showing your kids the fish
when they were little, did you ever think, ďWell, thatís a good
eating fish, thatís not a good eating fish?Ē
No, I never thought about that in my life. And now I think
to myself fish is healthy except that what we put in the ocean, Iím
not sure what the fish are eating. Like thereís that whole island
in Indonesia, maybe, the size of Texas that is only made of
Right, itís caught in the
Oh, my God, what we have done to ourselves? Thatís what I
us Let us know what you