UPDATED with backstage video: Even if Henry Winkler didn’t win tonight, he acknowledged, he would have still made Emmy history.
“At 27, I started doing the Fonz, and I’m 72 and I’m standing right here in front of you with her,” said Winkler — her being his Emmy trophy on the floor.
Barry marked Winkler’s seventh nomination. For three years straight from 1976-1978, Winkler was nominated for lead actor in a comedy for his iconic role as Fonzi on Happy Days. He notched an informational program nom for the 1977 show Who Are The DeBolts? [And Where Did They Get: 19 Kids], and there were two guest actor nods in a drama series in 2000, respectively for Battery Park and ABC’s The Practice.
Did he really have the same speech tonight that he prepared 43 years ago?
“No,” exclaimed Winkler. “Different people,” in regards to the crowd that night. How did he deal with the excitement after tonight’s win? “I was wearing rubber pants in anticipation. I used a little powder. I had control,” said the Emmy winner.
Winkler shared that his German-Jewish parents didn’t want him to pursue an acting career; that is, until he became a star. He had made a point of maintaining longevity in his career “by being a forest ranger” with his career – being himself in every part.
Though Barry co-creator and star Bill Hader came back separately from Winkler, the afterglow of the show’s wins all settled on Winkler.
“I told Alec (Berg) tonight,’Do you remember when he came in to read for us?'” said Hader. “You’re only as good as the company you’re in, and Henry would push me in a way to give that performance…you’re reacting to good actors.”
Hader lucked out in that HBO was open to the tone he was setting for Barry. “There’s a version of this show that is kind of jokey,” said the former SNL alum. However, the pay cable network was a fan of his 2014 dark comedy film, The Skeleton Twins. “I thought, ‘Thank God’,” said Hader, so that he could “just deal with the real emotions” on the series.
On Wednesday, season 2 of Barry begins productions.