'Royal Pains': Where was Henry Winkler pre-Eddie Lawson?

henry-winkler-usa.jpg Henry Winkler joins the cast of USA's "Royal Pains" on Thursday (June 10) in the recurring role of Hank ( Mark Feurstein) and Evan's ( Paulo Costanzo) scam artist dad, Eddie Lawson.

We're definitely excited to see Henry "the Fonz" Winkler in USA's hit show -- and we're not the only ones. TV son Mark Feurstein recently told Zap2it's Korbi TV, "I love having the Fonz as my dad.... I worshipped the Fonz growing up."

Even after over a quarter century has passed since Winkler played the role of Arthur Fonzarelli, many (like his "Royal Pains" co-star) still know him as "the Fonz." Perhaps that's because most folks don't know what exactly he's been up to since his iconic role on "Happy Days." So ... we thought we'd take a closer look into Winkler's post-"Happy Days" (1974 - 1984), pre-"Royal Pains" (2010) days to answer the burning question: where in the world was Winkler for the past 26 years?

Put this on the list of things we bet you didn't know about the actor (well, unless you're really on top of your Winkler trivia knowledge): he was the executive producer of "MacGyver" for its seven season run between 1985 and 1992. He also produced several other television shows including "So Weird," "Mr. Sunshine," "Sightings" and the game shows "Wintuition" and "Hollywood Squares" (the latter from 2002-2004 only; occasionally he even took on sub-announcer duties).

Winkler also stayed behind the camera directing several movies, including 1988's Billy Crystal movie "Memories of Me" and 1993's "Cop and a Half" with Burt Reynolds.

Winkler didn't return to acting until the 1991 controversial TV movie, "Absolute Strangers," where he played a husband forced to make a decision regarding his comatose wife and his unborn baby.

After his return to acting from a seven-year hiatus, Winkler took on some notable roles you might recall, including an Emmy-nominated three-episode turn on ABC's "The Practice" from 1999 - 2000 as a dentist with a fetish who's tried for murder. Winkler also earned laughs on FOX's (extremely underrated) comedy series "Arrested Development" as Barry Zuckerkorn, the Bluth family's incompetent lawyer. Interesting factoid: when Winkler moved to CBS for one season to star in 2005 - 06's "Out of Practice," "Happy Days" co-star Scott Baio took over his "Arrested" role as the family lawyer -- just before FOX pulled the plug on the ratings-challenged show.

Winkler has actually taken on a number of other television series guest-starring roles, such as "South Park," "The Simpsons," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Third Watch," "Crossing Jordan," "Family Guy" and "King of the Hill." His most recent role (before getting the "Royal Pains" gig) was as disgraced agent Roger Bloom for a three-episode run on "Numb3rs."

And that brings us up to present day. Winkler is slated to star in (at least) four episodes of "Royal Pains" as a dad who abandoned his two young sons and dying wife 20 years ago.

Up next for Winkler? He takes on a lighter role in the new Cartoon Network live-action comedy, "Childrens Hospital," which premieres July 11 at 10:30 p.m. on Adult Swim.

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Photo credit: USA