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Henry Winkler calls childhood crush on her 101st birthday

Fonz calls childhood crush

Henry Winkler surprised a childhood pal by phoning her on her 101st birthday.

Back in the 1950s, the Happy Days star grew up in the same New York City building as the woman, who is now fighting Alzheimer's disease, but her granddaughter insisted she's never forgotten the beloved actor.

"He was about 10-ish and he had a big crush on her ... That's the story I heard growing up," Natalie Lebovits-Zaidenberg told the New York Post's Page Six.

Lebovits-Zaidenberg's grandmother, Florence Keller, made a really big impression on the future TV heartthrob - and he's now one of the few people she remembers as she battles the memory-zapping condition.

"My grandmother has Alzheimer's," said Natalie, "but whenever she watches TV and he comes on, she goes, 'It's Henry,' and gets very excited... Sometimes she doesn't remember us so it's really special."

She shared the sweet story about Winkler and her grandma in a private Facebook group, called PR Czars, asking if any Hollywood insiders might be able to help reconnect the pair.

The request worked and Winkler was able to thrill Florence with the special birthday call.

"He called and he was lovely," Lebovits-Zaidenberg raved. "He just said he wished her a happy birthday, and said he appreciates that we have followed his career this whole time. They spoke for about five minutes. We were all excited."

"He's 'the Fonz' (Happy Days character). It was just so cool. It was a story I grew up with my whole life that was a great NYC story. But to see it be real was very special."

She also thanked members of the Facebook group for making it happen: "It was really the power of people coming together. Everyone wanted to help."

And Florence isn't the first person to pick up the phone and find the Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner, known as one of the kindest guys in showbusiness, on the line.

New York City Governor Andrew Cuomo also previously received a surprise call from Winkler, after talking about how much he admired the actor.

"I mentioned to someone that I was a fan of the Fonz from Happy Days," Cuomo wrote in his 2020 book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, "and the next thing I know, Henry Winkler called."



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