Henry Winkler wins first Emmy award after four decades in TV

It only took Henry Winkler more than four decades to take home his first Emmy of his career after he was first nominated for his role as The Fonz in "Happy Days" in 1976.

Winkler, 72, looked bowled over when he won for best supporting actor in a comedy series on Monday for his role as Gene Cousineau on HBO's dark comedy "Barry."

Once he took the stage amid roaring applause and a standing ovation, Winkler joked that he wrote his speech 43 years ago.

Then Winkler quoted some advice he got in Hollywood, saying that "if you stay at the table long enough, the chips come to you."

"Tonight I got to clear the table," he said.

Winkler was nominated three times for his work on "Happy Days," in 1976, 1977 and 1978. His character Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli spawned a cultural craze and made him one of the biggest stars on TV.

Winkler also was nominated for an Emmy in 1979 for an informational program and most recently in 2000 as a guest actor in "The Practice."

Backstage after his win, Winkler joked with reporters that he was wearing rubber pants with a little powder, just in case he wet himself if he won. "But I had control," he joked.

He expressed wonder at the win and the path his life and career have taken, saying he dreamed of being an actor when he was 7 years old living in New York City "with short German Jewish parents who did not want me to be an actor."

"I was 27 when I started doing The Fonz. I'm now 72 and I'm standing right here in front of you with her," Winkler said, referring to his Emmy statuette. "Wow."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.