The TV veteran won the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series prize for his role as Gene Cousineau, Barry Berkman’s (Bill Hader) lovably mercurial acting coach, on the HBO comedy Barry. In it, Hader plays the titular character, a hit man from the Midwest who finds his calling as an actor among LA's struggling artists.
"I only have 30 seconds but I wrote this 40 years ago," Winkler said in his acceptance speech, which concluded with a special message for his kids: "Jed, Zoey and Max! You can go to bed now. Daddy won!"
This is the sixth time Winkler has been nominated for an Emmy over the past four decades. Three nominations came from his days as the incomparable Arthur “the Fonz” Fonzarelli on Happy Days. Another came in 1979 from his narration on the documentary Who Are the Debolts and How Did They Get 19 Kids? His most recent nomination was for a guest role on The Practice in 2000.
Back in March, when Barry first debuted, the 72-year-old actor spoke with ET about what made the show and the role so special.
“I auditioned. I read the script. I knew, I'm reading something wonderful here. I've read a lot of scripts over the years for pilots," he said. "For men my age, it's usually, 'Oh, hold on a minute.' [He mimes covering the receiver of a phone.] ‘Turn in your badge. Take a few days off.’ And look what I got to do.”
While speaking with ET's Kevin Frazier in our one-on-one room after his big win on Monday, Winkler said he owed his son for helping him get the gig -- and the trophy. "Max, he did help direct my audition in my house," he said. "The first thing I'm going to do is take a shower because it is hot... [and then] I'm going to call my children."
The actor also had a sweet run-in with Ron Howard during the show. "He called me. We hadn't seen each other in a long time and he said, 'Look I'm going to the Emmys, I hope we can hug. And we did," Winkler explained.
But at the end of the day, Winkler isn't placing too much pressure on his new Emmy. "I don't think it says anything. It doesn't define me. It is a reaffirmation that the dream I had. That is true. I dreamt on the westwide of New York, in apartment 10A, when I was 7. My father told me not to do this until I became famous, at which that time he becomes the full time producer of Henry Winkler," he joked.
The 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, co-hosted by Colin Jost and Michael Che, were handed out live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Monday, Sept. 17, on NBC. Check out the full list of winners and ET’s ongoing Emmy coverage here.