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Henry Winkler celebrates end of lengthy Emmys drought

Deborah Vankin
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles — Henry Winkler might be the feel-good win of the night at this year’s Emmys.

Henry Winkler in the press room with the award for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for "Barry" at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards on Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

The actor-comedian, who plays the narcissistic acting teacher Gene Cousineau on HBO’s “Barry,” was 27 when he starred as Fonzie in the sitcom “Happy Days.” He’s now 72 — and in all those years, with six Emmy nominations, he’s never won one, not until Monday, when he walked away with the supporting actor in a comedy award.

“And now I’m standing here in front of you with her,” he said backstage in the press room, holding up his golden statue.

“It feels wonderful,” he continued before joking that in anticipation of the shock of winning tonight, “I was wearing rubber pants just in anticipation, and I used a little powder, but I had control. I think I had the longest drought between nominations than anyone else in the Academy.”

But now that the drought is over, Winkler remains grounded, he says.

“It feels unbelievable, but here’s the truth,” he said. “On Wednesday … we start the second season of ‘Barry.’”

Winkler didn’t really write his acceptance speech 40 years ago, as he had joked on the podium accepting his award. “That was another speech,” he said.

On working with the comedian Bill Hader, he said that “When he is producing and directing he is not a comedian, he is focused and serious.”

Before exiting the stage, Winkler gave some parting advice for young, up and coming actors and comedians: “Be yourself, be honest about your ability, and prepare so that you are not a flash in the pan.”

For Winkler, with 45 years in the industry under his belt, that advice has obviously paid off.