HOH’s One-Minute Recess: Is That the Fonz? Ayyy!

Posted December 9, 2010 at 10:05am

Visitors to the National Museum of American History got a special treat on Wednesday afternoon — not only did they get to see a piece of television memorabilia, they also got to meet the guy who made that memorabilia famous.

“Happy Days” star Henry Winkler stopped by the museum on Wednesday to check out the signature leather jacket he wore while portraying Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli — better known, of course, by his nicknames Fonzie or the Fonz. Winkler tells HOH that his fellow tourists recognized him, and he became part of their museum experience.

“I took a lot of pictures with people,” Winkler says. But he adds that having a piece of his personal history at the Smithsonian is “one of the great honors of my life.”

Aside from visiting his famous jacket, Winkler is in town to accept an award from the AARP for his work on stroke awareness. Winkler’s mother suffered a stroke in 1989, and as a result suffered from upper limb spasticity, which prohibited the use of her arm. She suffered with the condition for 10 years before her death in 1999.

Since then, Winkler has worked to raise awareness and promote new treatments, including Botox. “I think it would have changed her approach to living,” Winkler says.

Winkler will be honored at a gala at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Thursday night alongside fellow honorees, including Maya Angelou, Joy Behar and Tony Danza. Winkler notes it’s a reunion of sorts with Danza, considering they filmed on the same Hollywood studio backlot during their 1970s television heyday. “It’s like old home week,” he jokes.