A surprise ending. Henry Winkler revealed he was shocked by the series finale of Barry, which is currently airing its final season on HBO.
“When I read the last script, I had to really pull my jaw back up to my mouth. I’m telling you, it is amazing,” the Emmy Award winner, 77, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting his partnership with Apellis to raise awareness of geographic atrophy (GA).
“I don’t know how fans will [feel after the finale], I feel sad because I love those people — and I didn’t even get to act with most of them,” he said, noting how separate his story line is from the others on the show.
Winkler has played acting teacher Gene Cousineau opposite Bill Hader‘s Barry, a hitman who joins Gene’s class, since the series premiered in 2018. Hader, 44, cocreated the acclaimed series and directed the final season, and the Happy Days alum said he’ll miss working with the leading man.
“He is the producer. He is one of the writers. He is the director — he directed all eight episodes this year. And he is my acting partner. We have an unspoken connection, and I will miss him,” he told Us. “I will miss going to work. I will miss seeing that crew that took care of me for all these years. We’ve been doing it since 2016, and then the pandemic hit. It was a big break. So I’m so grateful that I was invited into that ensemble.”
The New York native is hopeful that he and Hader will work together again.
“His career is going to be pretty solid. I have nothing to say to him — except to remember I’m a SAG actor. I have my [union] card,” Winkler quipped. “Because he’s going to go on to great things. You know, he wanted from the beginning to be a director, and Saturday Night Live was like a side trip, and now he’s back on track.”
Winkler is grateful for the success of Barry, and he explained that he is happy he can use his platform as a celebrity to spread awareness for important causes. He teamed up with Apellis after his late father-in-law, Dr. Edward Furstman, suffered from age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
“When I married my wife, Stacey [in 1978], I was lucky enough to get an incredible father-in-law along as a gift,” Winkler gushed to Us. “Ed was tall, [had a] mustache, [was] a gregarious, funny [man]. He was an extraordinary dentist. Then, he became my dentist, and I just knew I was in great hands. Of course, he worked in a very small space. I watched AMD start to enter his life, and when that happens to somebody that you love, that you enjoy, not only do you feel badly for that person, but it is a wake-up call for you.”
He continued, “So because of watching Ed go through AMD I partnered with Apellis to just get the word out: go to your eye doctor. Don’t wait. You don’t feel anything when aging macular degeneration starts. All of a sudden your vision changes and then it can progress. It can progress to an even more severe state, which is geographic atrophy. There is a great website called GA Won’t Wait, and I say go to GAWontWait.com, and you will find enormous amounts of research and resources there.”
Barry airs on HBO Sundays at 10 p.m. ET.
Reporting by Christina Garibaldi