Thursday, September 15, 2011

Actor Henry Winkler gets honorary OBE for helping dyslexic children in UK

From The Guardian in the UK:

Happy Days star Henry Winkler has been made an honorary OBE for his work on dyslexia in the UK.

The actor and director, who played the Fonz in the classic US sitcom, said it was "humbling" to receive the honour, awarded at the British embassy in Washington DC.

Having been diagnosed with dyslexia as an adult, Winkler has toured schools in the UK over the last two years to talk about the learning difficulty.

He has also written books for children about Hank Zipzer, a boy with dyslexia, whose experiences are based on the actor's own childhood struggles.

In a statement on the embassy's website, Winkler said: "Receiving this honour is a very humbling experience.

"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."

The British ambassador to the US, Nigel Sheinwald, presented the OBE during a ceremony at the embassy.

Sheinwald said: "Through [Winkler], thousands of young people have seen a role model and an inspiration for overcoming their learning challenges."

The honour was presented in recognition of the star's services to children with dyslexia and special educational needs.

Non-British nationals can receive honorary awards for their contribution to British interests. Honorary awards are conferred by the Queen on the advice of the Foreign Office.

Winkler's portrayal of Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli in Happy Days won him two Golden Globes and three Primetime Emmy nominations.