Remembering Garry Marshall

Think of the television shows and movies that can instantly make you feel better—the ones that you watch when you’ve had a rough week or stayed home sick. Chances are, Garry Marshall created, starred in, or directed most of them. Marshall, who passed away at the age of 81 this week, has touched generations of viewers with his roster of classics, from beloved sitcoms like “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley” to Julia Robert’s breakout movie, “Pretty Woman,” and more modern flicks including “The Princess Diaries” and the star-studded “Valentine’s Day.”

To honor Marshall, the Writer’s Bone crew shared our favorite works from the icon. Tell us about the films and movies you love in the comments section!—Stephanie Schaefer

Sean Tuohy: I loved Garry Marshall's television shows. Loved 'em. As a kid I watched “Mork and Mindy,” “Happy Days,” and “The Odd Couple.” In the third grade, I would stay up late watching Nick at Night and binge watch the reruns of those shows. I would hum “The Odd Couple” theme walking to the bus stop. I would try and fail to sit on my head in chairs. I would daydream of becoming the Fonz. The episode where Richie gets in a bike crash and Fonzie pleads for him to live while in the hospital still brings a tear to my eye. The jokes in those shows still work today. The set ups and the knee slapping punch lines were perfectly timed.  The shows were amazing and the few that my mother watched, and she didn't watch a lot of American TV, but she loved those shows. 

Marshall made one good movie in his career and it was “Overboard” with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. The plot is over the top and almost unbelievable and the characters are far from likable, but the jokes are great and, in the end, Marshall gets you to really root for the characters.

Stephanie Schaefer: “Overboard” may be lesser known, and I think it was actually a box office flop, but it’s one of those perfect sick-day movies you can watch over and over again. The chemistry between real-life couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell (talk about #relationshipgoals) is naturally amazing and although the plot may be a little silly, in true Garry Marshall style it’s a “feel-gooder”, proving that (in the words of J-Lo) love don’t cost a thing. Plus, Reese Witherspoon actually called out the film as her favorite movie at the 2012 Oscars!

The Princess Diaries was also my favorite book as a child, and I think Marshall did a great job of bringing it to life in the Disney film.

Daniel Ford: Marshall was also a great actor. He had a small, but important, role in “A League of Their Own.” He played the grouchy (and rich) founder of a woman's baseball league, and he steals every scene he's in. The way he needles Tom Hank's drunk of a character in the beginning is just masterful. I mean, read this exchange: 

Walter Harvey: You kind of let me down on that San Antonio job.
Jimmy Dugan: I, uh, yeh, I, uh... I freely admit, sir, I had no right to... sell off the team's equipment like that; that won't happen again.

Walter Harvey: Let me be blunt. Are you still a fall-down drunk?
Jimmy Dugan: Well, that is blunt. Ahem. No sir, I've, uh, quit drinking.
Walter Harvey: You've seen the error of your ways.
Jimmy Dugan: No, I just can't afford it.
Walter Harvey: It's funny to you. Your drinking is funny. You're a young man, Jimmy: you still could be playing, if you just would've laid off the booze.
Jimmy Dugan: Well, it's not exactly like that... I hurt my knee.
Walter Harvey: You fell out of a hotel. That's how you hurt it.
Jimmy Dugan: Well, there was a fire.
Walter Harvey: Which you started, which I had to pay for.
Jimmy Dugan: Well, now, I was going to send you a thank-you card, Mr. Harvey, but I wasn't allowed anything sharp to write with.

He's equal parts generous and smarmy throughout the film. I loved that performance.

Alexander Brown: Very sad news, he was only just recently on Marc Maron's podcast if anyone is looking for a great interview with him.

My fondest memory of Marshall revolves around a wonderful series of improv impressions done by comedian Paul F. Tompkins on the “Comedy Bang Bang” podcast. Once or twice a season he shows up in character as Marshall and proceeds to shout about the majesty of old Hollywood while brainstorming new and creative romantic comedy ideas. (Martin Luther King Day being my favourite, a pitch that had me rolling on the floor, or ROFLing as the kids say.)

Here's a video for anyone interested: