Saturday, July 23, 2016

Remembering Garry Marshall

Garry Marshall, a beloved writer, director, producer and actor in movies and TV shows, died on July 19 at age 81.
Most people will remember him as the man who made hit movies like “Pretty Woman” and “The Princess Diaries” and TV shows like “The Odd Couple” and Happy Days.”
I’ll remember him as a devoted supporter of his alma mater, Northwestern University. Marshall, like me, studied journalism at Northwestern.
I had the privilege of spending some time with Marshall while I was in graduate school at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in the fall of 1992.
My class was working on a prototype magazine about comedy and sought his counsel.
I wrote to his production company in Los Angeles and asked for some of his time to chat. His staff first wanted to make sure I wasn’t some wannabe screenwriter looking for an in.
His scheduler asked me, “How do I know you’re not going to try to pitch him a script?”
Not only did he agree to chat, he made a visit to the Evanston, Ill., campus to meet the students. I served as his driver during his campus visit that day.
He liked our idea for a comedy magazine.
“I think everybody’s interested in comedy now; just look at all the stand-up and improv clubs,” Marshall told me. “I think people would like to read about comedy because everyone secretly wishes they were funny.”
Nothing came of the comedy magazine experiment, but it was a great experience.
I will remember Marshall as a sweet, wise, funny man who loved people.
He will be missed.

Related reading:

How Garry Marshall found his comedy (Chicago Tribune; July 20, 2016)

Prolific Hollywood director Garry Marshall who was behind such hit movies as Pretty Woman and Princess Diaries as well as TV’s Happy Days dies at age 81 (The Daily Mail; July 19, 2016)

Garry Marshall IMDb page

Gary Marshall page on Wikipedia

Photo: Filmmaker Garry Marshall (top); Marshall with actress Jennifer Garner on the set of “Valentine’s Day” (2010).

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