(CNN) — It’s hard to believe, but TV veteran Bob Newhart has just snagged his very first Emmy.
Newhart, 84, has been nominated seven times throughout his 52-year career, and on Sunday night he finally won at the Primetime Creative Arts Emmys.
He was named Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory.” He appeared as Professor Proton, the former host of a kids’ science show, on an episode in May.
“They wrote an awful good script,” Newhart said of his “Big Bang Theory” colleagues. “They gave me a lot of hanging curveballs and I kept swinging at them.”
The swinging paid off. When he was honored on Sunday with his first Emmy statue, Newhart humbly told reporters backstage that he “was totally unprepared for that,” according to Entertainment Weekly.
Given the breadth and impact of his career — from “The Bob Newhart Show” of the early ’60s and ’70s to “Newhart” in the ’80s and the short-lived “Bob” in the ’90s — it’s curious how Newhart managed to go this long without a prior win.
“The best answer to that really is whenever I was nominated, there were better people in the category than me,” the star told Entertainment Weekly. “That’s the truth. The best person wins. That’s the way it is.”
The Primetime Creative Arts Emmys usually honor the people behind the shows in addition to talent like guest stars ahead of the televised Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony.
“The great thing about (the honor) is that you’re voted on by your peers, and that’s very important,” Newhart told CNN on Sunday, moments before his big win.
As for what’s next, Newhart is working on reprising his “Big Bang Theory” role this season and, if he can help it, a number of gigs after that.
“I’m trying to drop dead on a soundstage,” the 84-year-old told CNN. “That’s really my ultimate goal — to just keel over in the middle of a show.”
The 2013 Creative Arts Emmys will air on September 21 at 8 p.m. PT on FXX, followed by the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards on September 22 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
CNN’s Topher Gauk-Roger contributed to this report.