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Henry Winkler's Many New Roles

'The Fonz' fills us in on his volunteer work for stroke victims, plus his new movie, play and book

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Q. Are there treatments?

A. I am the spokesperson for the last three years for the Open Arms Campaign, www.openarms.com, and there is a new tool in the doctor's toolbox, which is this therapeutic use of Botox. [The Food and Drug Administration approved Botox for use with upper limb spasticity in 2010.] I have traveled across the country merely to give people information that [this treatment] exists. A lot of times the meetings that I have at hospitals with the stroke doctors and the patients turn out to be revival meetings, because the patient wants to say how their life has changed. It is so inspiring and touching.

Q. How long does it take for patients to see results?

A. It is pretty quick. They start to see it as soon as the first treatment. They need the injections every four to five weeks.

Q. You're an avid fly fisherman. You have to have open arms and lots of dexterity when you're on the river.

A. It is completely Zen. You cannot fly fish and just reel the fish in. You have to be completely in tune with what is feeding on the river. You have to be in tune with the rate of the water. You have to be in tune with the fish once the fish is on the line. I always say that it's like a washing machine for the brain. You are drained of anything that worries you while you are on, in or near the river.

Q. Was your mother ever able to go fly fishing?

A. No, my mother played canasta. She never picked up a rod in her life, but she was mean with a deck. Whoa! She had her friends. They had lunch first. Of course, that all went away when she had her stroke, which was very sad.

Q. Can you tell us a bit about what else you're working on?

A. We just shot a two-hour Royal Pains movie coming in January. I just shot my work on Arrested Development coming next spring on Netflix. Children's Hospital, which is the absurdist comedy on the cartoon network at 12 at night on Thursdays, just won an Emmy for best short-form [live-action]. Then, of course, we have our newest novel for children, Ghost Buddy, Mind if I Read Your Mind. We've written now 23 novels for children. This one is based on that the very person that you might be making fun of might be the very person that can help you. I have a new movie coming out with Kevin James and Salma Hayek called Here Comes the Boom, which is a family movie. You take your 9-year-old and grandma. And everybody will cheer.

Next page: Winkler on being happily married, reinvention. »

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Learn what acclaimed actor Henry Winkler is doing to improve the lives of stroke patients through the Open Arms Campaign.

 

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