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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. How was working with Salma Hayek on Here Comes the Boom?

A. She is game for anything. She is articulate. She is so smart. This little girl is powerful, I mean in the true sense of the word. Funny, and a great mom. Her daughter came to visit, all the time.

Q. You've reinvented yourself as an actor. Do you have some advice for people over 50 who want to reinvent themselves?

A. It is so easy to second-guess yourself. It is so easy to say: "Well, they don't want me. Well, it's too late in the game." The actual fact is that might be true, but it is not true everywhere. You are mercury and you make yourself small enough to fit in that opening when it presents itself. If that were not true, I would not be sitting here now. I was told I would never achieve. [Winkler has dyslexia, and his series of children's books — cowritten with Lin Oliver — features a dyslexic hero, Hank Zipper.]

You don't know what greatness you have inside you until you get off the mat and try, which is the theme of my life, the theme of the books we write and the theme of the movie we just did.

Q. At AARP we talk about the health benefits of long, happy relationshipsmarriage is a health benefit, especially for men. You've been happily married for 34 years. Can you tell us your secret?

A. I think the center of a relationship is not the heart, it's not the head. It is the ear. It doesn't matter how you mean it. It matters how it lands. Listening is a lost art and listening is the beginning and the end of a relationship. And good abs and a nice tush is not bad. [Laughing] Nah. I have abs, but you need an X-ray to find them. They're way deep down, but they're there.

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Video Extra

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


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