Henry Winkler opens up about his youth with dyslexia: ‘I was so angry’

Henry Winkler
Photo credit Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Image

Henry Winkler couldn’t understand why he had such a hard time reading in his younger years.

When he turned 31-years-old the “Barry” star learned it was dyslexia, he told TODAY.

“There are times when I am so frustrated by my brain that I hit my head,” Winkler said.

The Emmy-winner recalled how upset he’d get at himself during table reads on “Happy Days” when he struggled reading scripts with the cast.

“I sat around the table reading ‘Happy Days’ in the ‘70s. I’m reading it and I’m stumbling. I stumble because I can’t read off the page. No matter how hard I try, it is a difficult process for me,” he said.

“I’m messing up other people’s timing. I’m slowing the process down. I’m making jokes because I’m hiding behind my humor in my embarrassment,” he continued.

Winkler said he wishes he knew then what he knows now, he suffers from dyslexia, a language-based learning disability, according to the International Dyslexia Association.

The actor recalled being ashamed growing up in the ‘50s and ‘60s not being able to comprehend the written word. He said he’d get told he “wasn’t trying hard enough” or was “stupid” and “lazy”.

When he was diagnosed in his early thirties, he was initially upset with his parents. He was upset for the years of “being yelled at, humiliated. I was grounded. I was punished. For what? For nothing”.

Now Winkler aims to help others with dyslexia. With his writing partner Lin Oliver, he created “Here’s Hank”, a children’s book series about a second-grader struggling with reading and math.

Winkler is currently starring in the fourth and final season of HBO’s “Barry”.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Image