Yesterday, The New York Times published a very well-written profile of actor Henry Winkler written by Matthew Klam:

When the producers of the HBO series “Barry” asked Henry Winkler to audition for the role of Gene Cousineau, they assured him that he was on a short list. Winkler said he was willing, as long as the list didn’t include Dustin Hoffman. “Because he’s a movie star. He’d get it. If Dustin was on the list, I wasn’t going in. They said no. I said OK.”

There was no particular reason to think the two-time Oscar winner would be up for the same part, but Winkler can be forgiven for indulging in a little paranoia. Across the span of his 50-year career, he has had some highs — 1970s pop-culture saturation to rival “Star Wars” and the music from “Jaws” — and lows, including a long stretch where he couldn’t get hired, filled with the sense that he’d been typecast into oblivion.

Years ago I listened to a long interview of Henry Winkler on The Nerdist podcast1 that opened my eyes to how warm, generous, and philosophical Henry Winkler is. This profile provides some insight into those qualities, and also takes a deep dive—deeper than I would normally expect from a newspaper article—into Winkler’s audition for, and his acting in an early scene, in Barry.

  1. I think it is gone from the internet now, unfortunately. ↩︎