'As a child I was treated like an idiot and chastised constantly': Under the microscope with Henry Winkler

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UPDATED:

23:35 GMT, 26 March 2012

The Happy Days star, 66, on being diagnosed with dyslexia in his thirties, going from almost blindness to 20-20 vision and why he's an optimist
'You have greatness in you whether you're in the top 10 per cent or the bottom 3 per cent,' said Henry Winkler

'You have greatness in you whether you're in the top 10 per cent or the bottom 3 per cent,' said Henry Winkler

ARE YOU AS CHEERFUL AS THE FONZ

Yes — I’m a glass half-full person. Sure, I get sad and I worry a lot, but my entire life is based on a phrase that I’m always repeating to my three children: ‘If you will it, it is not a dream.’

DO YOU KEEP FIT

I should probably exercise more, but I move around a lot — I’m not a person who likes to sit still for long! I’m also a keen angler, which gets me out in the fresh air.

EAT HEALTHILY

Yes, I’m pretty conscientious about getting at least five fruit and veg a day. My food philosophy is to eat like a king in the morning, a prince in the afternoon and a pauper at night. Dinner is often just soup.

BIGGEST VICE

I’m drawn to sauces and saucy things, and soft, stinky French cheese just about puts me over the edge.

WORST HEALTH PROBLEM

Dyslexia, because I wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my 30s. As a child I was treated like an idiot and chastised constantly. It makes me so mad thinking about it.

HAS IT BEEN PASSED ON TO YOUR CHILDREN

Yes, all three of my children have it, as it’s often hereditary. But because of the way I was treated I know it’s so important to say to people with dyslexia that you can have success in different ways. You have greatness in you whether you’re in the top 10 per cent or the bottom 3 per cent.

WORST HEALTH PROBLEM 'Dyslexia, because I wasn't diagnosed until I was in my 30s,' said Henry

WORST HEALTH PROBLEM 'Dyslexia, because I wasn't diagnosed until I was in my 30s,' said Henry

DO YOU COME FROM HEALTHY STOCK

My mother had a stroke when she was 89. She developed upper limb spasticity in the months afterwards, which caused her arms and hands to become gnarled. It’s painful and makes it difficult to get washed and dressed. But, two years ago, we discovered Botox can help with this — it’s made a big difference to her life.

EVER HAD SURGERY

Growing up, I kept getting tonsillitis, so I had my tonsils removed when I was nine. Then, six years ago, I had both lenses on my eyes replaced because I had bad cataracts — I was 95 per cent blind in one eye. Within 30 minutes, I had 20-20 vision again. That surgeon is my hero!

TRIED COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINES

A couple of years ago after a long-haul flight from Australia, and I bent down to pick up a book and my back just seized up with a pinched nerve.

After three appointments with an acupuncturist, the pain was totally gone.

SLEEP WELL

I’m normally in bed before midnight because I love to be up early, before the rest of the world is awake.

ANY PHOBIAS

Being put in a strait jacket!

LIKE TO LIVE FOR EVER

No, but I would like to jump forward 100 years to see exactly what the world has evolved to.

Henry supports the National Literacy Trust’s Pushing The Envelope Campaign. See pushingtheenvelope.info for more information.