(October 25, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share an encouragement…
We had a tear in our eyes when reading a comment by Henry Winkler last month. Renowned for his iconic role as the Fonz in the hit TV series Happy Days, after years as Arthur Fonzarelli, he questioned whether his career effectively used his ‘God-given talents.’
According to www.movieguide.org, having been trained as a classical actor, he had always meant to be a ‘serious’ actor – doing drama, not comedy.
‘Occasionally I would wonder: Was playing the character of Fonzie doing anybody any good? I’d been raised in the Jewish faith and still felt a real peace and closeness to God when I worshipped in a synagogue,’ he said. ‘Was I doing what I was really meant to do? Was I using my God-given talents in the best possible way?’
One day an answer came in the most unexpected way. Back in the 80s Henry Winkler had been chairperson of an annual event called the Special Arts Festival held at the Music Center in Los Angeles. Children came there with mental and physical handicaps come to perform in their own amateur theatrics, to show their talents, and exhibit their artwork.
‘Children are there from all backgrounds and all walks of life, and as I walked through the crowds, I’d do a lot of hugging. I’d hold the hand of a little girl in a wheelchair. I’d joke with a young boy without a leg,’ he said.
In a www.guideposts.org 1985 article, Henri Winkler said he remembered one interaction with one of the children that confirmed for him that faith and entertainment were not separate. He wrote: Several years ago there was such a racket that it was amazing I heard the voice at all. ‘Fonzie,’ someone said. A small, shy voice in all the hubbub. ‘Fonzie!’