You can take me out of New York—but you can’t take New York out of me,” exults Henry Winkler (who will be known as the Fonz to his grave) as he wraps his latest film, Heroes. Busting loose from his black leather straitjacket, a fluffy-haired Winkler (with phony mustache) plays a war-shocked Viet vet. He falls in love with a nomadic Sally Field and then fights with an Army-Navy recruiter in Times Square. (The picture at right was taken while Winkler perched on a crane high above Broadway.) “Though I’ve shot two other films in New York [The Lords of Flat-bush and Crazy Joe], this is my graduation. I’m the star. I’m living my dream,” says Winkler.
Henry also is reliving his own Happy Days as the only son (in penny loafers and crested blazer) of an affluent German-Jewish family on the Upper West Side. (Teen years meant temple dances, not cruising for chicks.) Though now firmly planted in his redwood digs in L.A., he thrills over the old Manhattan haunts where “the people are really crazy.” After ecstatic “aaaayyys” over Mom’s potato knishes and the obligatory round of relatives, Winkler recessed his hectic schedule for a visit to a public school for the deaf, where he answered questions about his career. He also sat for photographer Francesco Scavullo, who will feature Henry in his book Scavullo Men.
“I can go every way,” says man-for-all-media Winkler. “After all, TV put me here.” Come May it’ll be a film about an actor-turned-wrestler, à la Gorgeous George. The Fonz in blond ringlets? “Yep.” And then? “Maybe a rock star,” honks Henry, leaping up for a high-kicking imitation of Mick Jagger. But that’s only after a fifth season on the tube as Arthur Fonzarelli.