Tag: The Flamingo Kid

My Happy Days in Hollywood: A Memoir by Garry Marshall

June 14th, 2012 — 10:32pm

My Happy Days in Hollywood : A Memoir by Garry Marshall ( 2012)

You will definitely like this book if you have been a fan of Garry Marshall and appreciate all the work that he has done in movies and television. If you read his earlier book, Wake Me When It’s Funny: How to Break Into Show Business and Stay There (1997) you will find this current book a partial restatement of his accomplishments plus his newest work, as well as his more philosophical look at life, now that he is on the other side of 75. His orientation and values towards show business originates at the knee of his mother who ran a local dancing school and had once been a dancer herself. As a youngster he had the ability to make people laugh and his parents appreciate and encouraged this talent. He was born in the Bronx and attended DeWitt High School. He then went to Northwestern University, which is known for it’s journalism studies where Marshall proved to be talented sports writer. After graduation he found out that he could make a living writing jokes for comedians. He started supplying funny lines for Phil Foster and Joey Bishop. This led him to become a writer for The Tonight Show which in the late 50’s and early 60’s starred Jack Paar. He branched out to writing for The Lucy Show and Lucille Ball, Make Room for Daddy with Danny Thomas and The Dick Van Dyke Show. By this time he was living in Hollywood working with co-writer Jerry Belson. They created the hit TV show, The Odd Couple based on Neil Simon’s play and then, on his own, Marshall created what are probably his two biggest TV shows, Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley. The latter starred Marshall’s sister Penny Marshall who has remained close to him throughout both their careers.

Marshall’s instinct for comedy was obviously the gateway for his success but his ability to choose characters and stars for his shows allowed him to move from writer to producer. In fact he produced most of his successful TV shows and would call upon people he knew to star, write and direct his many programs. There is no doubt that his personality, likeableness and his ability to relate to the talented people with whom he worked contributed much to his success. This was also true as he tried his hand at directing movies. After several moderate successes in film starting off with the The Flamingo Kid, he hit it big with Julia Roberts and Pretty Women. He went on to do many more successful films such as Valentines Day and Princess Diaries. An example of his loyalty to friends is the fact that  actor Hector Elizondo whom he met playing basketball became a close friend and has appeared in every movie Marshall has directed. Marshall himself has appeared in substantial roles in movies and in some recurring characters on television.

He has been married since 1963 to his wife Betty. Although some of his movie directing took him out of town for long periods of time, he did everything he could to work near his family and to spend time with  his children while they were growing up. The book is not a literary classic but it comes across as a sincere inside story by a talented man with a great sense of humor who continues to do great work in movies and television.

In order to appreciate the great breadth of Garry Marshall’s work much of which are discussed in this book, I reproduced his credits as listed in Wikipedia

Directing credits

Television credits as writer or producer

Acting credits


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