Robert Downey Jr. joked about his checkered past after winning a Golden Globe for his comeback role on Ally McBeal.

"I would like to thank (series creator-writer) David Kelley for creating such a great character," Downey said as he accepted the award for best supporting actor in a series. "He said when he was writing it that it was like having a new toy. I will do my best to not get sent back to the factory."

The part of the new love interest for series star Calista Flockhart was Downey's first after serving a year in prison on drug charges. Critics and viewers praised his role and said it gave a boost to the 4-year-old Fox show.

In December, Downey pleaded innocent to drug charges from a Thanksgiving weekend arrest in Palm Springs, which came four months after being released from prison.

As he left the stage Sunday, the 35-year-old Downey told Dick Clark that he planned to continue his recurring role on Ally McBeal and thanked the public for its support.

"It's really meant the world to me that people have been so supportive and have come up to me on the street and said that they're rooting for me," he said. "And something like this, to be acknowledged, is really good ... All these things are esteem-building."

Backstage, Downey commented briefly but declined to take questions from reporters.

"I just want to share this with my fellow parolees, er, nominees," he said. "This really means a lot. I really appreciate all the good will that comes from everyone."

Asked how he was doing, Downey responded, "Never better."