I have met hundreds of celebrities. People always ask me who the best and worst was. Fortunately, I have had very few bad celebrity encounters, but on the topic of good ones, Henry Winkler must be mentioned first.
Winkler rose to fame as "The Fonz" on tv's Happy Days in the mid-1970's. Some 40+ years later, he is still fondly remembered and very popular with fans of all ages. Part of his lasting popularity must be attributed to him being one of the nicest people ever.
I first met Winkler many years ago at a celebrity convention. His line was incredibly long, but nobody complained. He did a few things I never saw before or since. Winkler would take an occasional break to walk the line and thank people for waiting. He also made sure to bring anyone with physical limitations to the front of the line (and nobody complained). If that wasn't enough, he made every encounter special. At conventions, time constraints are tight, but a few pleasantries by the celebrity can make all the difference. Winkler actually had personal interactions with everyone he met.
At the recent Wizard World, Winkler was once again a hit with the fans. Because he was there all four days (a bit of a rarity for celebrities), Winkler's line was never exceptionally long, but it was steadily among the longest there all weekend.
Once again, Winker proved to be a wonderful person. He gladly talked about Happy Days and other parts of his career. With a lot of wrestling fans as attendees, he often was asked questions about The One and Only, a wrestling movie from early in his career. I asked about The Lords of Flatbush, one of my favorite mvies from very early in his career (also starring Sylvester Stallone).
Not only did Winkler spend quality time with everyone, he seemed to enjoy it all. I always say, the minimum requirement for any celebrity at these events is to at least "act" like it is fun (or at the very least not unpleasant). Winkler didn't have to act. He genuinely appreciates his fans and we appreciate him.
In a world ready to jump on all negative stuff, especially with celebrities, Winkler deserves applause for a career of being a wonderful person. As cool as it was to meet Fonzie, it was even cooler just meeting Winkler.
I also wrote about meeting Winkler online for Global Traveler at Fonzie Is Still the Coolest. Thank you to Wizard World and PR Manager Jerry Milani for this opportunity.
Henry Winkler and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2019.