I loved "Happy Days" growing up. I wanted to live in the Cunningham house. It played such a huge role in my childhood, watched every Tuesday night from middle school through high school, with the series finale airing my senior year. Ron Howard even returned for that episode, who was equally entertaining as Richie but also starred on another of my favorite TV shows of all time, "The Andy Griffith Show." Man, if I ever truly wanted to live anywhere it was Mayberry! But I digress.
Howard returned because "Happy Days" was - and remains - a tight cast. He had also just directed Winkler in an underrated comedy called "Night Shift," starring a then-unknown Michael Keaton. Winkler would move into directing and producing for many years afterwards, with acting on TV peppered throughout - his return to sitcom television in FOX's short-lived comedy "Monty" and stint on "Arrested Development" serving as standouts. He was also on the big screen in "Scream" and many Adam Sandler comedies.
The win for "Barry" is a deserved one - not some lifetime achievement award disguised as a win. "Barry" is a brilliant comedy with Winkler playing a brilliant yet verbally abusive acting coach. Quite the departure.
He was nominated three times for an Emmy for his role on "Happy Days," losing out the first time to the late Jack Albertson, who was starring in "Chico & The Man" at the time. That laugh-out-loud series starred the hysterical, ground-breaking Puerto Rican comedian Freddie Prinze, whose suicide cut its run short, despite the show trying to go on without him. Between that show and my beloved "Good Times," never mind the equally groundbreaking "The Jeffersons," I'm not sure why this year's Emmy's spent so much time lecturing viewers about the lack of diversity on TV.
But here's Arthur Fonzarelli's (Italian!) acceptance speech.