Before Henry Winkler was in “Barry,” and before he was even The Fonz, his name appeared in Variety on March 12, 1973. He was mentioned in passing, in a poor review of “42 Seconds From Broadway,” which ran for one night before the reviews shut it down. But Winkler was mentioned positively, with the reviewer praising his “commendable attempts at credibility.”

Variety television editor Michael Schneider informed Winkler of his first mention in the magazine during a conversation in honor of Winkler’s 2022 Variety TV Legacy Award. When he heard the quote, Winkler simply said, “I was working really hard at being credible at that time.”

Winkler reflected on his decades-long career and his Emmy-winning turn in HBO’s “Barry,” which is currently in Season 3. Winkler plays Gene Cousineau, an acting coach who is wrapped up in Barry’s (Bill Hader’s) crimes. Winkler said after each day of shooting the series, he would “go home and have visited a land that was never in my imagination.”

“I think this is the most intense work I have ever done in my career, starting June 30, 1970, when I was hired by the Yale repertory theater for $172 a week,” Winkler told Schneider.

From “Arrested Development” to “Happy Days,” Winkler has no shortage of recognizable voice and screen roles. But his six years playing administrator Sy Mittleman on “Children’s Hospital” stands out as one of his most baffling roles.

“I went in for just a few, I stayed for six years. I never understood the jokes. I never understood why I was holding a vat of urine,” Winkler said. “All I knew was I was with these incredibly funny people. And once during an interview I said, ‘Yeah, I’m doing a wacky comedy.’ And they stopped the interview, took me aside [and said], ‘You cannot say wacky. It’s meta.’ I didn’t understand what that meant either. Sat down and went, ‘I’m doing a meta comedy.’ I have no idea.”

While he may not know exactly what was going on during “Children’s Hospital,” his memories of playing The Fonz on “Happy Days” are fond, as are his memories of first arriving in Hollywood.

“It’s taken me from there to today to taste who I knew I wanted to be as an actor,” Winkler said of his “Happy Days” role.

When asked what he wishes he knew back then, Winkler said he “was thin because of worry,” and could never have imagined the career he would go on to have.

“When I talked to students, to people, young people who want to be an actor, I said, ‘You know what? It is not easy. You have to be tenacious, but eventually you will get where you want to be. Not always, but for the most part,'” Winkler said. “It happened to me. I didn’t know that I was going to have this great journey.”