Before 'Barry,' Henry Winkler Helped Bill Hader's Kid Get Into Private School

Henry Winkler_Letter of Rec_Comp - Getty - H 2019
Getty Images; Courtesy of subject

Henry Winkler and Bill Hader share a history that goes back way before they began co-starring on HBO's Barry.

While presenting Winkler with a Public Service Award for Contributions to Civic Life during the 61st Southern California Journalism Awards on June 30 at the Millennium Biltmore in Los Angeles, Hader recounted how the veteran actor helped his oldest daughter through the “most Brentwood-y thing I’ve ever done in my life." That thing — "like from a Judd Apatow movie,” Hader quipped — was securing letters of recommendation to get into one of L.A.’s most elite private schools, Crossroads School in Santa Monica.

It was Hader’s then-wife Maggie who took their eldest daughter Hannah to Winkler’s home to secure a letter. (Winkler's own kids, Max and Zoe, attended the school.) “So, my daughter went to the house and he hung out with her and she played the piano, they walked in the garden — like Game of Thrones, had counsel — and she came back and said, ‘I just met the nicest man I’ve ever met in my life.’ I said, ‘Join the club.’ And she got in.”

Perhaps because of his “nicest guy in Hollywood” reputation (sorry, Tom Hanks), Winkler still had to audition for Barry. “He read for us and was amazing and we should’ve just given him the job but we didn’t. We said, 'No, I want to write some scenes where I can see him being mean,'” Hader concluded. “I wrote these scenes to see if he would — and he was phenomenal.” 

A version of this story first appeared in the July 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.