Henry Winkler is shocked his dances keep going viral on TikTok, saying he joined only because his granddaughter insisted

Henry Winkler is shocked his dances keep going viral on TikTok, saying he joined only because his granddaughter insisted
Henry Winkler's recent festive TikTok videos have been very well received on the app.Henry Winkler, TikTok
  • The 76-year-old actor Henry Winkler's TikTok dances have gone viral, delighting fans.
  • He said he never expected this response and joined the app at his granddaughter's insistence.

Henry Winkler is experiencing unexpected TikTok fame.

The 76-year-old actor — who is best known for his role as Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli on the TV show "Happy Days" from 1974 to 1984 — is reaching a new audience since joining the app in November 2020. In total, his six videos have racked up 33 million views, and he has over 1.2 million followers.

His two most recent videos, posted in the first week of this year, have been particularly warmly received. The first shows him dancing to Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me" in front of a Christmas tree, while the second features him dancing with three of his grandchildren to "When I Grow Up" by The Pussycat Dolls.


Happy New Year, happy dance!

♬ somebodys watching me -

The videos have been viewed 9.7 million and 2.1 million times, respectively, with some of the top comments referencing Winkler's role on "Happy Days."

"Imagine being Henry's grandkids and going to sleepovers and telling other kids parents that's their grandpa is the fonz," one comment with 1,116 likes says.


His presence on the app has captured the attention of mainstream media outlets, too, with publications including the Daily Mail, People, and Hollywood Life covering his latest video.

Despite becoming something of a TikTok star, Winkler told Insider he had spent no time scrolling through the app and had no plans to do so anytime soon. He also has no interest in Instagram or Facebook, he said, but he's "very active on" Twitter, where he has 877,000 followers.

Winkler said joining TikTok was a "very easy decision" but he didn't expect to go viral, telling Insider he was "completely surprised" by the response.

"My 11-year-old granddaughter, who is now 12, said, 'Papa, we have to make a TikTok for you.' I said, 'You pick the music,' and away we went dancing into the night. I had no idea what the results would be," he said.

Winkler added that the response to his videos had been overwhelmingly positive, saying fans appeared "delighted" by his dances, especially his latest post with his grandchildren, which he said "took off like a rocket."


Holiday-themed TikTok videos have now become a tradition in the Winkler family. The actor said his granddaughters picked the music and they practiced the steps together before filming the result.


My grandchilden

♬ When I Grow Up Showmusik Remix - Showmusik Sounds

"I never thought that my having so much fun with my grandchildren would generate this much interest," he said. "The excitement in the room, picking music that is not X-rated, is a joy unto itself."

Despite enjoying his time on TikTok, the celebrated actor — who has a storied Hollywood career with appearances in many films and TV shows, including his recent role on HBO's hit series "Barry" — said he had no plans to pivot to a career as an influencer.

"It's hard enough to pivot into a spin while making the dance," he said.

For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider's Digital Culture team here.