Henry Winkler

Henry Winkler in New York City while filming "Royal Pains," one of his many projects. (Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times)

Henry Winkler has managed to stay in the comedy zeitgeist for more than 40 years, from his star-shot to fame on "Happy Days" in 1974 to the fourth season of "Arrested Development" on Netflix. These days Winkler continues to make recurring appearances on the USA series "Royal Pains" and the Adult Swim series "Children's Hospital." Additionally, he continues to publish children's books and act as a spokesman for issues as diverse as dyslexia and the use of therapeutic Botox in stroke victims.

With the latest episodes of "Arrested Development" freshly streaming online and his "Ghost Buddy" books expanding into foreign countries (Italy being the latest), Winkler recently shared a few thoughts on his career with Show Tracker.

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I imagine every interview you’ve had over the last seven years has involved someone asking about more “Arrested Development” in some way.

That is so true. No matter where I go in the world. I was just in Italy, introducing our children’s books, and they asked me that question. That was three weeks ago. I said, "It’s coming!" My Twitter is ablaze.

Have people started asking you about when the movie is coming now?

No, because you know what happened? I had a long talk with [‘Arrested Development’ creator Mitch Hurwitz], and he said, "I want to do the movie" — and this was before the television show — "but how do I get the three or four years that the show has been off the air and bring all of those characters up to date in two hours? It's impossible." So then he thought of doing all these episodes; each one or two episodes is a character. He was able to bring them up, and possibly a movie will follow. But I have to say, at this moment, it’s so successful on Netflix, I’m hoping there’s another season.

What’s your preferred viewing order for the new episodes?

I always start from the beginning. My wife is a stickler about, if we have something TiVoed and there are three or four of them, I cannot watch the most recent one.  I must watch them in order. With something like "Arrested Development," I’d go in order, because it’s confusing enough as it is. Someone said, "Hey, where’s the logic?" I said, "That word has never been used about this show in its entire career."

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You must have a pretty good instinct: "Happy Days," the first "Scream" movie, "Children's Hospital."

We just finished "Children’s Hospital" last week for the new season. Again, I show up, I don’t have the slightest idea what they’re talking about. I just say the words and sometimes say, "Could you explain this to me? Because I’m not getting it." There’s no logic there. It’s just brilliant.

Does one job lead to the next?

I don’t know if there’s a progression. I am invited sometimes to be part of a cast. I’m going in July to do "Royal Pains." You go for a few episodes. I was only hired on "Arrested Development" to do one episode, and all of a sudden, Barry stayed for three years. And now I’m in the new episodes. I live a charmed life. The honest truth is I love my work — and that I get to do it every day. And then out of that, I’m invited to be the spokesperson for the therpeutic use of Botox for stroke victims. And then I think that sounds good. Then I go on the road for the last three years and I meet patients who have had the therapy. I meet caregivers, I meet family members and I see the result. And I fell into this unbelieveable thing. I met a woman who said, finally, after 2 1/2 years, it was the first time I was able to put my arm around my daughters. It’s really incredible. Because Botox has only been thought about as cosmetic, and originally they started using Botox neurologically. Now it’s for the muscle structure.

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You must be on the road quite a bit.

I am. I think I travel 88% of the year. I just got back from Italy, where I introduced my children’s books to the Italians for the first time. Now they’re in seven or eight countries.

In your days after "Happy Days," I read you had a hard time figuring out what your next purpose would be and how difficult that was. Do you still have goals or things you’re setting out to do, or are you just taking things as they come along?

That is my goal. My goal is to be open enough and healthy enough so that whatever comes down the road, I can get into that car and see where it takes me.

Any talk of any reunions for the 40th anniversary of “Happy Days” next year?