“Kindness is free.”
Garry Marshall survived bad health as a child. He survived long cold winters in Chicago as a college student. He survived a tour of duty in Korea as an Army soldier. He survived producing stressful TV shows. He survived bad investments that almost forced him into bankruptcy. He survived making a few bad films to make a few more good ones. He survived critics, cancer, and canned laughter.
Garry Marshall is a survivor.
I’m not sure why of all of filmmakers in the last 100 plus years Marshall became the first one that I spent an entire month writing about on this blog, but I suspect it has something to do with his incredibly long run as a producer, director, writer, and actor spanning stand-up, radio, television, books and theater. (What no blog? Garry call me—we can play some basketball and then grab lunch at Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank and talk blogging.)
If you look at the peaks (The Odd Couple, Pretty Woman, Happy Days, Fonzie, Julia Roberts, Robin Williams) and the longevity of his career—it’s been an amazing run. Factor in how he was able to balance all of that with his personal and family life and you have one amazing life well lived. A true Hollywood survivor.
“The truth is that I always wanted a more stable life than my intellectual idols had. People like Arthur Miller, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Sylvia Path, Anton Chekov and Albert Camus all had unconventional family life. I was a product of the 50s and was charmed by The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best, and the drawings of Norman Rockwell. Whether they were true or not didn’t matter. I wanted to come home to a wife, children, and a sane family dinner hour. This is probably why I have been married for forty-nine years and have three children and six grandchildren.“
My Happy Days in Hollywood (written with Lori Marshall)
And he’s not done yet, he just sold a new TV show. As I was looking for a fitting way to end a Month of Marshall (technically started these posts last month) with an exclamation point, I came across the clip below where Marshall is brilliant—though less than kind—as a TV executive giving Louis C.K. a little Hollywood pep talk.
P.S. In light of the Frankenstorm damage to Marshall’s hometown of New York City (and the surrounding areas) it is a good time to be reminded that “kindness is free.”
Halloween P.S.—Here’s a scary picture for you. This is an old Nikon lens that’s older than two of my interns this semester. It had been in retirement for many years until I had a need for it last year when shooting a video project. I originally bought it in Miami or L.A. back in the ’80s. It’s seen its share of battles, but it still captures sweet images. Talk about a survivor…