Tribute: Garry Marshall

Posted on July 20, 2016 at 8:08 am

We mourn the loss of writer/director/actor Garry Marshall, who died this week at age 81. Marshall gave “Happy Days,” “Mork and Mindy,” “Laverne and Shirley,” “Pretty Woman,” “The Princess Diaries,” and, as an actor, unforgettable performances in films like “Soapdish,” “A League of Our Own” (directed by his sister, Penny Marshall), and “Lost in America.” He began as a writer for my all-time favorite television series, “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” No one was better at discovering and supporting new talent. He gave the first important roles to actors from Henry Winkler and Robin Williams to Julia Roberts and Anne Hathaway.

The New York Times wrote:

If one were to count up the number of times any American — or maybe anyone anywhere — laughed in the last half-century, the person responsible for more of those laughs than anyone else might well be Garry Marshall.

Two of my favorite Garry Marshall films are smaller, more personal stories: “The Flamingo Kid,” with Matt Dillon and Richard Crenna, and “Nothing in Common,” with Tom Hanks.

And I always loved his performances in films, especially in “Soapdish” as a television executive who liked things to be “peppy.” Here he is in “Lost in America,” with Albert Brooks.

May his memory be a blessing.

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Pretty Woman — 25 Years Later

Posted on March 25, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Copyright NBC 2015
Copyright NBC 2015

The cast and director of “Pretty Woman” reunited on the Today Show to reminisce about the movie that, improbably, made us root for a predatory finance guy and a prostitute to live happily ever after. They discussed the original script, which was not a romantic comedy but a cautionary story about drug abuse. When it was bought by Disney and given to comedy director Garry Marshall, it became a fairy tale that continues to be quoted and referred to today. Or, as Yahoo! put it, “ignoring ‘Pretty Woman’s’ 25th anniversary would be a big mistake. Big. Huge.”

Fans of the film will enjoy Vanity Fair’s gallery tribute, Time’s trivia (Gere surprised Roberts by snapping the jewelry box shut and her laugh was genuine), and this excellent assessment from Susan Wloszczyna for Woman and Hollywood.
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