Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Garry Marshall

There's no better satisfaction than writing.
I feel that writing is the best and everything else comes with it.
-Garry Marshall
Garry Kent Marshall
1934 – 2016
I'm sad to report that one of my TV heroes, Garry Marshall, died today at a hospital in Burbank, California, at the age of 81, due to complications from pneumonia after a stroke.
Marshall was born in the New York City borough of The Bronx, the son of Marjorie Irene (née Ward; 1908-1983), a tap dance teacher who ran a tap dance school, and Anthony Wallace Marshall (1906–99), a director of industrial films and later a producer. 

He was the brother of actress/director Penny Marshall and Ronny Marshall Hallin, a TV producer. His father was of Italian descent, his family having come from San Martino sulla Marrucina,ChietiAbruzzo, and his mother was of German, English, and Scottish ancestry. His father changed his last name from "Masciarelli" to "Marshall" before Garry was born. Marshall was baptized Presbyterian and also raised Lutheran for a time. He attended De Witt Clinton High School, where he was a classmate of Spider-Man artist Steve Ditko, and Northwestern University, where he wrote a sports column for The Daily Northwestern, and is a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

Marshall began his career as a joke writer for such comedians as Joey Bishop and Phil Foster, and then became a writer for The Tonight Show with Jack Paar. In 1961 he moved to Hollywood, where he teamed up with Jerry Belson as a writer for television. 

Their first television series as creator/producers was Hey, Landlord, which lasted one season (1966–67). 

They then adapted Neil Simon's play The Odd Couple for television. 

On his own, Marshall created Happy DaysLaverne and Shirley, starring his sister Penny, and Mork & Mindy, which were produced by his associates Thomas L. MillerRobert L. Boyett, and Edward K. Milkis. He was also a co-creator of the short-lived sitcom Makin' It, which the three men also produced.
In the early 1980s, Marshall met Hector Elizondo while playing basketball and became great friends. Elizondo appears in every movie that Marshall directed, beginning with Marshall's first feature film, Young Doctors in Love. Elizondo once noted that he is written into all of Marshall's contracts whether he wanted to do the movie or not. In the opening credits of Exit to Eden, their eighth movie together, Elizondo is credited "As Usual ... Hector Elizondo".

In 1984 Marshall had a movie hit as the writer and director of The Flamingo Kid.
A consummate producer, Marshall wore many hats during this period of his career: most of his hit TV shows were created and executive produced by him. His first producing assignment came with Hey, Landlord in 1966. He stepped up the very next year, producing The Lucy Show. Then came successes in producing The Odd CoupleLaverne and ShirleyBlansky's BeautiesMork & MindyAngie, and Happy Days.
Marshall also launched independent productions, via his theatre (The Falcon in Toluca Lake) and in association with productions launched with talent he was grooming and working with for years. One such project, titled Four Stars, was directed by actress Lynda Goodfriend (who portrayed Lori Beth in Happy Days), and was based on a play Goodfriend had read when she was studying at the Lee Strasberg Center, which had been written by John Schulte and Kevin Mahoney. It starred Julie Paris (the daughter of Happy Days director and Dick Van Dyke Show co-star Jerry Paris) and film veteran Bert Kramer. Marshall went on to focus on directing feature films, with a series of hits, such as BeachesPretty WomanThe Princess Diaries, and most recently Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve.
Marshall was also an actor, making his TV acting debut starting as a child with a recurring role in the long-running CBS series The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (1950–58), appearing on the television series Murphy Brown and in such movies as Soapdish, on FOX's filmmaking-competition reality TV series On the Lot, which aired in 2007, and provided a guest-starring voice for The Simpsons episodes Eight Misbehavin' and Homer the Father. He also appeared in two episodes of Happy Days as a drummer.
Marshall's theater credits include Wrong Turn at Lungfish, which he wrote in collaboration with Lowell GanzThe Roast with Jerry BelsonShelves and Happy Days: A New Musical with Paul Williams, which had its premiere at The Falcon Theater in Burbank, California in the summer of 2006.
In 1996 he was awarded the Women in Film Lucy Award in recognition of excellence and innovation in creative works that have enhanced the perception of women through the medium of television.
In 1997, Marshall was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame for his contributions to the field of television.

Marshall also has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. He played the role of "director" on Burbank's "Lights...camera...action!" float in the 2014 Rose Parade. His son, Scott Marshall, is also a director. In 2014, he appeared in a guest star role in a February episode in season 11 of Two and a Half Men on CBS. 
Garry Marshall as Matthew Perry's Father on 'Odd Couple
Marshall received the Valentine Davies Award (1995) and Laurel Award for TV Writing Achievement (2014) from the Writers Guild of America.

Good Night Mr. Marshall and thanks for some of the best laughs I had during my childhood. You really made them Happy Days.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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