At 78 years old, Henry Winkler has this physical status:
After receiving his MFA in 1970, Winkler was one of three students from his graduating class of 11 who were invited to become a part of the Yale Repertory Theatre company. He joined on June 30, 1970, was paid $173 a week, and appeared throughout the 1970–71 season. He performed in Story Theater Reportory, Gimpel the Fool and Saint Julian the Hospitaler and Olympian Games. He also appeared in The Revenger's Tragedy, Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone?, Macbeth, and Woyzeck and Play. He also appeared in a double feature of two works by Bertolt Brecht, The Seven Deadly Sins (ballet chanté), and The Little Mahagonny during May–June 1971 and during January 20–29, 1972.
In the fall of 1971, Winkler was invited to be a part of the play Moonchildren which would open at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Three weeks into rehearsals, the director Alan Schneider fired him as Winkler had been hired to fill the space until the actor that Schneider really wanted was available. At the time, Winkler was certain that because he had been fired, he would never be hired as an actor again.
Winkler moved back to New York, and began to audition for plays, movies, and commercials. However, he never had to work as a waiter because he was able to earn a living through performing in commercials. He was thus able to also perform with the Manhattan Theater Club for free.
Winkler's first appearance on Broadway was as "John" in 42 Seconds from Broadway, a play that opened and closed on March 11, 1973. He swore to himself that he one day he would "make that right." By 1973, he had roles in two independent films,The Lords of Flatbush and Crazy Joe. He also performed with the improv group, Off the Wall New York. He continued to feel anxiety, however, with the process of cold reading during auditions, and depended upon compensation strategies: "I improvised. I never read anything the way that it was written in my entire life. I would read it. I could instantly memorize a lot of it and then what I didn't know, I made up and threw caution to the wind and did it with conviction and sometimes I made them laugh and sometimes I got hired."
By 1973, his agent told him that it was time to leave New York and explore possibilities in California. Although Winkler was initially resistant, thinking he was not a good fit for Hollywood, his agent was persistent. Winkler ultimately decided that he had earned enough money through his work in commercials to try Hollywood for one month. He and his Lords of Flatbush co-star, Perry King, thus traveled to Los Angeles on September 18, 1973. After meeting with his agency's west coast branch, and spending five days going to auditions, Winkler was hired for a small part on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, appearing in Season 4, Episode 10, "The Dinner Party."