"The Fonz" will be in Statesboro Thursday evening, but if you don't have tickets yet for the 13th annual Kids and Community Gala sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club of Bulloch County, the event is sold out.
While Henry Winkler is best known for his role as Arthur Fonzarelli in the "Happy Days" TV show, his support of children's causes is less known but will be the focus of his address Thursday at the gala.
The event is held each year to raise "financial support and awareness of the importance of what we do," said Mike Jones, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Bulloch County.
In addition to "Happy Days," Winkler has an expansive success story, but most people may not know that as a child, he suffered from undiagnosed dyslexia and other learning disabilities. He was bullied and ridiculed and, as a result, had low self-esteem, Jones said.
Winkler has a similar story to other former Boys and Girls Club event speakers "of childhood struggles, how they overcame and became successful," Jones said.
In addition to acting, Winkler is a successful producer and has authored a children's book series that addresses childhood struggles such as his own.
"He travels the world as an advocate for understanding and research of learning disabilities and dyslexia," Jones said.
Some of Winkler's accomplishments include a spot on the hit HBO dark comedy "Barry," for which he won an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy.
"He has enjoyed over four decades of success in Hollywood and continues to be in demand as an actor, producer and director," his biography reads.
He auditioned for the "Happy Days" character Arthur Fonzarelli in 1973. During his 10 years on the popular sitcom, he won two Golden Globe Awards, was nominated three times for an Emmy Award and was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Both his famous leather jacket and Fonzie's lunch box became part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum in 1980, according to the release.
In recent years, Winkler has appeared in a number of series, including "Arrested Development," "Children's Hospital" and "Parks and Recreation," and has starred and served as co-executive producer of the NBC reality travel series "Better Late Than Never" with William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw, George Foreman and Jeff Dye. He is also an executive producer of the new "MacGyver" series currently airing its second season on CBS.
Outside of entertainment, Winkler is also an honorary chairman of United Friends of the Children, a founding member of the Children's Action Network, the first national honorary chairman of the Epilepsy Foundation of America and national chairman of the annual Toys for Tots campaign. He is also involved with the National Committee for Arts for the Handicapped, the Special Olympics and the Los Angeles Music Center's Very Special Arts Festival for children who are physically challenged and has participated in numerous teenage alcohol and drug abuse programs.