In particular, the Emmys paid homage to acclaimed "Pretty Woman" director Garry Marshall, who died in July at the age of 81. He also was a co-creator of "Happy Days," the show that made Winkler a star.
Winkler called Marshall "one of the most beloved men in the history of our business" in an impassioned speech that had the audience captivated.
"Most importantly, he was a family man," Winkler continued.
After saying that all the people Marshall touched had their life changed for the better, Winkler looked up and said, "On behalf of all of us, Garry, thank you."
Music star Tori Kelly performed "Hallelujah" while others — including Anton Yelchin, John Saunders, Doris Roberts and Garry Shandling — were also remembered.
Muhammad Ali, Merle Haggard, Prince, Gene Wilder, Natalie Cole, David Bowie, Alan Rickman and other stars were part of the tribute, which went far beyond classic TV and delved into the worlds of music, sports and film.
A full list of TV, music and film stars who died over the past year is posted on the Emmys website.
The 68th Annual Emmy Awards aired live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.