Henry Winkler credits his therapist with his Emmy-winning role in ‘Barry.’ Here’s why

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Henry Winkler says his therapist helped him nail the role of acting coach Gene Cousineau in "Barry."

During a Nov. 12 appearance on Sunday Sitdown, Winkler told Willie Geist his therapist helped him get into character.

"I could not have done 'Barry' without having met that doctor," he said. "I could not have done that character with that kind of texture ... I was stilted as an actor."

Winkler noted that he acted in "Barry" when he was going through a transitional period in his life, something his therapist helped him through.

"About nine years ago, I’m at a talking doctor, and only then did I start to break chunks of this thick cement," Winkler explained. "You know how like little seedlings come through the sidewalk, finding its way through the cement to the sun? That’s what’s happening. I am on my way to being who I am, as opposed to having lived who I thought I should be."

Winkler emphasized this by pushing his two hands together to show the struggle he was facing within himself.

"Still, the old Henry, scared out of my mind," he said while holding two hands up.

"The new Henry coming up against it and now tentatively, pushing back, and the old Henry didn't want to give in," Winkler said, before the hand representing the "old Henry" eventually collapsed. "And the new Henry was able to do some scenes that are some of my favorite scenes ever."

Thanks to his performance in "Barry," Winkler earned his first Primetime Emmy award in 2018.

Winkler told Geist in a preview clip from the interview that he believes "Barry" was so successful because it was “original” and “had a point of view.”

“Some writers put together a lot of words in a sentence, and some people put together a sentence much shorter that (feels like) you light a fuse and you better get out of the way," he said.

In addition to talking through his life in therapy, Winkler is now sharing his story with the world through his memoir, "Being Henry."

Winkler told Geist that growing up in New York City required learning "independence very quickly." Acting became a "life raft" for him, but his parents scoffed at the idea of it becoming a profession, he said.

"My father was truly insulted and angry that I was not gonna be Winkler and Sons," he shared. "That was his dream, to be an extension of who he is. And that is impossible. He spoke 11 languages, I had trouble with English. When I read a book, I read the cover. End of story."

Winkler was diagnosed in dyslexia in his 30s, and he struggled with reading and writing through school.

He credits "one sentence" from his music teacher with helping him launch.

"I did a musical in my 11th grade, and it was my music teacher, Mr. Rock, who said one sentence to me: ‘Winkler, if you ever do get out of here, you’re gonna be great,’” he quoted.

"And that moment, which may have felt small to him, was rocket fuel for you," Geist noted.

Winkler agreed, "Rocket fuel."

This article was originally published on TODAY.com