My Happy Days in Hollywood: A Memoir Info

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With the television hits The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne
& Shirley,
and Mork & Mindy, and movies like The
Flamingo Kid, Beaches, Pretty Woman,
and The Princess Diaries
under his belt, Garry Marshall has been among the most successful
writers, directors, and producers in America for more than five decades.
His work on the small and big screen has delighted audiences for the
last three decades and has withstood the test of time. 

In My Happy Days in Hollywood, Marshall takes us on a
journey from his stickball-playing days in the Bronx to his time at the
helm of some of the most popular television series and movies of all
time, sharing the joys and challenges of working with the Fonz and the
young Julia Roberts, the “street performer” Robin Williams,
and the young Anne Hathaway, among many others. This honest, vibrant,
and often hilarious memoir reveals a man whose career has been defined
by his drive to make people laugh and whose personal
philosophy—despite his tremendous achievements—has always
been that life is more important than show business.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.19

2039 Ratings

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Reviews for My Happy Days in Hollywood: A Memoir:

5

May 19, 2012

I rarely use the word "delightful", but it's the first word that came to mind after reading Mr. Marshall's memoir, "My Happy Days in Hollywood". How fortunate that someone with such a long and impressive career also has the writing skills to share it with his readers in such an easy conversational style. He takes us along on his journey, starting as a sickly child in the Bronx, through college and the military, continuing with his career as a comedy writer and then progressing to producing and I rarely use the word "delightful", but it's the first word that came to mind after reading Mr. Marshall's memoir, "My Happy Days in Hollywood". How fortunate that someone with such a long and impressive career also has the writing skills to share it with his readers in such an easy conversational style. He takes us along on his journey, starting as a sickly child in the Bronx, through college and the military, continuing with his career as a comedy writer and then progressing to producing and directing television shows and movies.

There is no ego here - Instead Mr. Marshall gives us a first-hand account that reveals the inner workings of his mind while marveling at the caliber of people he works with as he becomes more and more in demand. It's not a Hollywood tell-all. He shares behind-the-scenes stories and he doesn't paint everyone with an admiring brush, but his criticisms are never unkind. He seems as though he really is a family man who is pretty nice most of the time and has an upbeat attitude. He downplays his own talent, but clearly this is a very special and gifted man who has had a bit of luck, some wonderful experiences, and a heartfelt appreciation for his long career in a field he clearly loves.

I found both this book and Mr. Marshall himself to be extremely "delightful"! ...more
5

Feb 17, 2013

I loved this book! My mom read and it and was constantly filling me in on the most recent chapter shed read, but she still thought I should read it myself. And Im so glad I did!

I adore so many of Garry Marshalls films, and have always appreciated his informative bonus features on his DVDs. But reading his auto-biography gave me a whole new appreciation for him as a director/writer/actor, as well as a person.

The book reads very quickly, and theres delightful humor throughout. Instead of a I loved this book! My mom read and it and was constantly filling me in on the most recent chapter she’d read, but she still thought I should read it myself. And I’m so glad I did!

I adore so many of Garry Marshall’s films, and have always appreciated his informative bonus features on his DVDs. But reading his auto-biography gave me a whole new appreciation for him as a director/writer/actor, as well as a person.

The book reads very quickly, and there’s delightful humor throughout. Instead of a “dish-on-hollywood” Garry’s book is incredibly kind, and he seems to be always looking for the best in people when discussing actors, etc., that he’s worked with. Not that he’s blind to people’s faults, but he looks to their positives rather than their negatives.

The book starts off with a few chapters on Garry’s childhood, his constant string of illnesses, and then moves onto his college and army years. But this is all still captivating and fun, and it’s fascinating to watch all the pieces fall into place and see how his career started. Then we get insights into Garry’s TV and then film careers, and how each project paved the way for the next, as each chapter focuses on one of his projects.

I love is Garry’s dedication to the entertainment field, to producing the best possible story he can, his desire to always come in “under budget” and his acknowledgement that show business is a business. But most importantly, I appreciate (and found refreshing) his dedication to his family and friends, and his constant reiteration that family is more important that film. It is so lovely to see a person spend their entire adult life in “Hollywood” and still be a normal guy who wants to spend time with his family.

I’d definitely recommend this book to readers of autobiographies, to film fans, or to anyone interested in working in film. There are wonderful insights throughout that, I think, can make any writer/director/producer, a little better, and a little better prepared. He even includes “13 tips for actors.” Plus, the book is a hoot to read!

Definitely a wonderful read! And Garry seems like a truly great guy. If I worked in film, I’d want to work with him.

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4

Jul 20, 2016

I was deeply saddened to read of his death on July 19, 2016 at the age of 81. If you've loved comedy at all over the past 50 years, chances are that you owe a big debt of gratitude to Garry Marshall. Fortunately for us, each of his major projects gets a chapter here, from the Tonight Show, through to New Year's Eve. The behind the scenes stories are told as only Garry can, and the book is read as only he could. His positive attitude and unique comedic style shine throughout, a great reminder I was deeply saddened to read of his death on July 19, 2016 at the age of 81. If you've loved comedy at all over the past 50 years, chances are that you owe a big debt of gratitude to Garry Marshall. Fortunately for us, each of his major projects gets a chapter here, from the Tonight Show, through to New Year's Eve. The behind the scenes stories are told as only Garry can, and the book is read as only he could. His positive attitude and unique comedic style shine throughout, a great reminder that you don't have to be cynical to succeed in Hollywood. One of the best entertainment memoirs I've read! ...more
4

Dec 21, 2019

Very enjoyable. Talking about actors I never heard of on television shows I never heard of.

But he also talked about my home town - he went to college there.

I hadn't realized that he had been one of the writers on the Dick Van Dyke Show - which I happened to be watching at the time. Must be kismet!
4

Feb 23, 2014

Beware of the boring. Garry Marshalls mothers advice. When he asked what boring was, she replied, Your father.

Garry is celebrating eleven years of being round-shouldered. Marshalls mother, on his birthday

I thought they were trying to kill me. Marshalls reaction at age 7 when he heard a doctor say that the family had to move to Arizona for the sake of his (Garrys) health, and his father flatly refused because We cant afford it.

Ill give you a dollar if you stop bleeding. Marshalls grandmothers “Beware of the boring.” –Garry Marshall’s mother’s advice. When he asked what boring was, she replied, “Your father.”

“Garry is celebrating eleven years of being round-shouldered.” –Marshall’s mother, on his birthday

“I thought they were trying to kill me.” –Marshall’s reaction at age 7 when he heard a doctor say that the family had to move to Arizona for the sake of his (Garry’s) health, and his father flatly refused because “We can’t afford it.”

“I’ll give you a dollar if you stop bleeding.” –Marshall’s grandmother’s advice after he fell and hit his head while she was babysitting

“I was becoming a self-taught producer right there onstage. I didn’t know it then, but I was also figuring out just how I might be able to make a living while sick, seated, and nauseous.” –Marshall, describing his being a drummer at age 7 for the dance recitals at his mother’s studio

“I thought it was the worst movie I had ever seen. Nothing happened. People just talked, and there wasn’t one single joke in the entire movie. We ended up seeing the movie 12 times anyway because it was free.” –Marshall’s reaction on seeing the movie Gaslight as a child

“Writing is a good profession for you because you won’t break any bones.” –his mother again

“You know how nauseous you get on boats!” –his mother’s reaction when he found out that, as an Army private, he would have to go to Korea

“Would you please hold my coat?” –a date of Marshall’s. He held the coat while she got into a fistfight. He used the experience in an episode of Laverne & Shirley.

“We were a perfect match. I was a sick hypochondriac and she was a nurse. . . . My mother was only disappointed I didn’t marry a doctor” –describing his marriage

“She was fresh with me today. And I’m not giving her the check until she apologizes.” –Marshall’s father, an executive producer on Laverne & Shirley, explaining why he would not give the star of the show (Marshall’s sister) her paycheck. Marshall also employed his mother and his other sister, and his children got bit parts in his shows.

“There are no space aliens on Happy Days.” –Marshall’s son, explaining why he didn’t watch the show; he preferred to play with Star Wars toys. As a result; Marshall created Mork & Mindy.

“Garry, I heard you have a Martian who got a standing ovation. Can you build a series around him? Do it fast.” –Michael Eisner

“I told the network to get me that nun.” –Marshall on hiring Pam Dawber, who had played a nun in an unsold pilot. Marshall cast her before he met her.

“I don’t know what you are doing in Boston but without you I wouldn’t have a career. So here is some money.” –Cindy Williams, in a note that accompanied a check to support Marshall’s play. The play flopped.

“If he’s such a genius, he should learn to hit his marks.” –a veteran camera operator talking about Robin Williams

“Change your shoes a lot, Garry. Your feet are going to hurt.” –Francis Ford Coppola, giving advice as Marshall shot his first movie

“Fight through it. Do you want an ice cream sandwich or a Fudgsicle?” –Barbara Marshall, a clinical nurse and mother of three, as Marshall was having a panic attack on the set of his first movie

“She said when she met me that she thought I would make a good director because I was tall.” –talking about Polly Platt, who worked with Marshall, Peter Bogdanovich, and Orson Welles. Platt said that most directors were short, which meant they did not date well in high school, which meant they had a lot of angst to work out in their films

“Your Holiness, I read that we are both the same age.” –Marshall to the Dalai Lama.

“And we both have done well.” –the Dalai Lama’s response

“Julie Andrews instantly improves one’s posture because her own is so exemplary. To hunch in front of her would seem rude.” –Marshall on Andrews, who starred in The Princess Diaries

“Joel, will you call up this girl’s father, lawyer to lawyer, and tell her that I’m not going to give her cocaine? Fig Newtons maybe. But no drugs.” –Marshall, trying to hire then-unknown Anne Hathaway

“A little-known fact about Julie is that when she lets down her guard she can swear with the best of them. What is odd is that she swears with impeccable diction. I have never heard someone curse so distinctly.” –Marshall describing Julie Andrews

“I was continuing to build my reputation as a ‘women’s director,’ and that made sense because I was never any good at making movies with explosions and guns.” –Marshall explaining his success in film

“We had trouble finding footage to put in the gag reel because she never made any mistakes.” –Marshall on working with Jane Fonda in Georgia Rule

“For someone who gave me my career, I can give him three days.” –Julia Roberts, agreeing to take a small role in Valentine’s Day




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3

Nov 13, 2012

Of all the people in Hollywood these days, few of them even come close to Garry Marshall's veteran status. Between producing, directing, and/or writing (Mork and Mindy, Princess Diaries, The Odd Couple, and countless others) and even some acting (Race to Witch Mountain, Murphy Brown, Grand Theft Auto, and lots more,) Marshall's many works are well-known to pretty much everyone. As a long-time entertainment fan myself, I picked up this book thinking I'd enjoy it. Did I? Well...to a degree. There Of all the people in Hollywood these days, few of them even come close to Garry Marshall's veteran status. Between producing, directing, and/or writing (Mork and Mindy, Princess Diaries, The Odd Couple, and countless others) and even some acting (Race to Witch Mountain, Murphy Brown, Grand Theft Auto, and lots more,) Marshall's many works are well-known to pretty much everyone. As a long-time entertainment fan myself, I picked up this book thinking I'd enjoy it. Did I? Well...to a degree. There was plenty of interesting "behind the scenes" information about now-classic movies and television shows; however, too much time was devoted to rather offensive subjects, such as a whole chapter that was all about a S-and-M-themed movie that was a huge flop. Also, some notable typos--"Lea Michelle" (sic), "The Cat and the Hat" (sic)--seemed to be a bit egregious coming from an industry insider. If you're a lover of one or more of Garry Marshall's works, this might be worth getting from the library, but only a die-hard cinematic fanatic would want to purchase this. ...more
5

Jul 21, 2012

I'm a sucker for a Hollywood memoir and I jumped at the chance to read the words of Garry Marshall. His long and successful career has brought him together with so many "greats" : from Jackie Gleason and Lucille Ball to Julia Roberts and Anne Hathaway. He seems to be a straightforward kind of guy, and this comes out in his writing which is to-the-point. I enjoyed the tidbits from behind the scenes of his shows and movies. He is honest about difficulties with actors and coworkers but in the end I'm a sucker for a Hollywood memoir and I jumped at the chance to read the words of Garry Marshall. His long and successful career has brought him together with so many "greats" : from Jackie Gleason and Lucille Ball to Julia Roberts and Anne Hathaway. He seems to be a straightforward kind of guy, and this comes out in his writing which is to-the-point. I enjoyed the tidbits from behind the scenes of his shows and movies. He is honest about difficulties with actors and coworkers but in the end he always manages to look on the positive side of things. His humor shows throughout and overall this is a great read! ...more
4

May 25, 2012

I love Garry Marshall movies and have always like him and his sister Penny. This is a great behind-the-scenes book about his different movies and TV shows. I really enjoyed hearing about what happened and why things were done the way they were done. I also enjoyed the audio book which had Garry reading it himself. If you like Hollywood then read this one.
1

Jul 23, 2012

This seems to be a "give everyone I ever met thanks and credit before I die" book. It was not well written (yes, his daughter wrote with him), as he is name dropping every other sentence. Between that he makes the point (repeatedly) that he is a good father and wants to be there for his kids after school. The only interesting thing is reading about how connections and nepotism really are hard at work in Hollywood, along with tidbits about the movie stars, writers, and producers he has worked This seems to be a "give everyone I ever met thanks and credit before I die" book. It was not well written (yes, his daughter wrote with him), as he is name dropping every other sentence. Between that he makes the point (repeatedly) that he is a good father and wants to be there for his kids after school. The only interesting thing is reading about how connections and nepotism really are hard at work in Hollywood, along with tidbits about the movie stars, writers, and producers he has worked with. I would not recommend. ...more
5

Aug 03, 2012

This is a delightful book that had me laughing out loud. That was somewhat embarrassing, since I listened to Garry's reading of his autobiography while I took my daily walk. Listening added a lot to the experience since Garry's authentic Bronx accent is a treat for those of us from 'the neighborhood.' During his 50+ years in the entertainment industry, he's worked with a veritable who's who of old-time radio, 60s and 70s television and modern-day movies. When he describes all these famous people This is a delightful book that had me laughing out loud. That was somewhat embarrassing, since I listened to Garry's reading of his autobiography while I took my daily walk. Listening added a lot to the experience since Garry's authentic Bronx accent is a treat for those of us from 'the neighborhood.' During his 50+ years in the entertainment industry, he's worked with a veritable who's who of old-time radio, 60s and 70s television and modern-day movies. When he describes all these famous people as his friends, you believe him. He has also turned nepotism into a fine art - good thing he has such a talented family! ...more
4

May 05, 2012

I love reading books that tell you what goes on behind the scenes and this book does a great job of that. Garry's dry humor kept me smiling through out the book. I like the way he laid out his chapters so you immediately knew if it would be interesting to you. He is not vicious or mean and if has something negative to say about someone, he does it in a nice or a funny way.

I enjoy his movies and television shows so it was a lot of fun to see how they were created and what it was like filming I love reading books that tell you what goes on behind the scenes and this book does a great job of that. Garry's dry humor kept me smiling through out the book. I like the way he laid out his chapters so you immediately knew if it would be interesting to you. He is not vicious or mean and if has something negative to say about someone, he does it in a nice or a funny way.

I enjoy his movies and television shows so it was a lot of fun to see how they were created and what it was like filming them.

I think we could all learn by following his work ethic and his way of handling stars and people in general. ...more
5

Sep 08, 2012

I like Garry Marshall and almost all of the more popular work he has done in television and movies. I read reviews of this book and one said it was a lot of name-dropping. I think that is allowed, when your own name is dropped. I'd say Garry Marshall is on the level or above a lot of the names he dropped. Besides, he worked with all these 'names' and MADE them names.

So, if you like romantic comedy movies and sentimental sitcoms of the 70's you'll like this book. I was impressed by Garry's I like Garry Marshall and almost all of the more popular work he has done in television and movies. I read reviews of this book and one said it was a lot of name-dropping. I think that is allowed, when your own name is dropped. I'd say Garry Marshall is on the level or above a lot of the names he dropped. Besides, he worked with all these 'names' and MADE them names.

So, if you like romantic comedy movies and sentimental sitcoms of the 70's you'll like this book. I was impressed by Garry's reinvention of his product. He enjoyed looking for new boundaries to expand, once he got his staples made. Happy Days and Pretty Woman begat the more edgy The Other Sister and Georgia Rule.

He's been a writer, director and actor of television, movies and theater and his story is told, woven between most of the work he has done through his life. He reads his book to you and gives an entertaining performance in is own right, as well. ...more
4

Jun 05, 2012

The name dropping alone is worth the read, this man knows everyone who is anyone in the entertainment biz for the last 50 years or so. He's worked for or with everyone from Joey Bishop to Zac Efron along the way gathering a reputation as a great director for movies starring and skewed for women.

Garry Marshall came from a non-traditional family unit and was a sickly child. Those two things fueled his desire to make a traditional marriage and family, to be happy and share that happier outlook on The name dropping alone is worth the read, this man knows everyone who is anyone in the entertainment biz for the last 50 years or so. He's worked for or with everyone from Joey Bishop to Zac Efron along the way gathering a reputation as a great director for movies starring and skewed for women.

Garry Marshall came from a non-traditional family unit and was a sickly child. Those two things fueled his desire to make a traditional marriage and family, to be happy and share that happier outlook on life. Luckily for us, he's done that professionally too with shows like "Happy Days", "Mork and Mindy" and "The Odd Couple". We may not have those happy family memories but we can live them through the TV reruns and DVDs.

He talks honestly about all the things he did to break into the business and is unabashedly loyal to people who come through for him.

This is a quick and delightful read that will brighten your day and make you wish you knew him. Excuse me now while I "Netflix" some of his movies I missed along the way. ...more
4

Apr 23, 2012

Interesting. Enlightening. Inspiring. I enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about Garry Marshall, his family and his life. He seems like a very positive person (he writes a "W" on each day of his calendar for "Win" ... well, until he got cancer - he needed a little extra positive nudge so he wrote "V" for victory) with a great sense of humor (he liked to play practical jokes at work - and he even occasionally lost his temper, and the consequences of those times were funny, too).

I had no Interesting. Enlightening. Inspiring. I enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about Garry Marshall, his family and his life. He seems like a very positive person (he writes a "W" on each day of his calendar for "Win" ... well, until he got cancer - he needed a little extra positive nudge so he wrote "V" for victory) with a great sense of humor (he liked to play practical jokes at work - and he even occasionally lost his temper, and the consequences of those times were funny, too).

I had no idea he'd been so sick as a child, or about his writing during his service to the U.S. I loved his reaction to the times he didn't do as well as he thought he should have (he might have said "failed" but I find it hard to see anything he wrote or directed as a "failure"). He said that it was OK to fail - that you learn from it, and if you still fail the next time, you just try to fail better.

Each chapter describes a TV show or movie that Garry worked on, and tells all about the stars involved, his family life during that period of time in his life, the challenges and victories both on the set and personally. He includes lessons he learned from other people in show business, and tells stories about those people who inspired him.

I found the book to be enjoyable from beginning to end. ...more
3

May 22, 2012

I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.

This book is a nice, quick read about the life of director Garry Marshall.

What I liked about this book is that it was relatively upbeat. He seems to be a pretty positive guy, & that made the book more enjoyable for me. I was also a fan of the fact that nothing really dragged out. Admittedly, this book is a lot of name dropping. But he moves through the timeline pretty fast, so there's no whole pointless chapters focused on one tiny aspect, I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.

This book is a nice, quick read about the life of director Garry Marshall.

What I liked about this book is that it was relatively upbeat. He seems to be a pretty positive guy, & that made the book more enjoyable for me. I was also a fan of the fact that nothing really dragged out. Admittedly, this book is a lot of name dropping. But he moves through the timeline pretty fast, so there's no whole pointless chapters focused on one tiny aspect, as I've read in other memoirs.

But the thing that sets this memoir apart, in my own experiences, is that there's no real downward spiral. No losing himself to drugs, no eating disorder, no awful press report type coverage. Of course, I know that this is a one sided story & is to be taken with a grain of salt. But, it was a change for me all the same.

Will I read this again? No. It's not that kind of book. It was interesting, but I'm over it. If you're a super fan or a complete film buff, maybe you should give this a shot. But if you're roughly my age (20) or younger, I'd pass. Half of these names that are dropped I've barely heard of. I'm pretty sure I'm not the intended audience, so over all I can only give it a 3/5. It wasn't a waste of time, but I'm not going to gush about it anytime soon. ...more
4

Oct 20, 2012

Ive always enjoyed Garry Marshall ever since I saw him play the part of Stan Lansing in the TV show Murphy Brown, so of course I had to read his new memoir My Happy Days in Hollywood. He is just as sweet and kind as weve always suspected.

Garry is a writer, director, actor, and producer. Some of the TV shows he directed are The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, and Mork and Mindy. Some of the movies he directed or produced are Frankie and Johnny, Beaches, Pretty Woman, and The Princess I’ve always enjoyed Garry Marshall ever since I saw him play the part of Stan Lansing in the TV show Murphy Brown, so of course I had to read his new memoir My Happy Days in Hollywood. He is just as sweet and kind as we’ve always suspected.

Garry is a writer, director, actor, and producer. Some of the TV shows he directed are The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, and Mork and Mindy. Some of the movies he directed or produced are Frankie and Johnny, Beaches, Pretty Woman, and The Princess Diaries. Early on he wrote for Lucille Ball, Joey Bishop and Dick Van Dyke, among many others.

I very much enjoyed reading this memoir. What a sweet, kind, decent person Garry is. His big love, of course, is his family and friends. He often talks about needing to be near his wife, children and grandchildren, and has been married to his wife for nearly fifty years. But he also loved his work which is obvious by the fact that he is still directing and producing well into his seventies.

He always had a great concern for the actors and staff in his movies. He realized that the movies he directed would be better if the actors were happy. And on the rare occasion when he is critical in this book (e.g., of his own sister Penny, who starred in Laverne and Shirley), he is still sweet and caring. He doesn’t have a big ego, and so could bounce back from failure and learn from what didn’t work and what did work in his shows and movies, and keep moving on.

Something I never knew--the expression “Jumping the shark” came from an incident in the TV show Happy Days.

Off to watch some of his movies again, and to see some that I missed.
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4

Oct 09, 2012

Yes, I watch alot of TV. But I also read quite a bit. And, yes, I read about the television and film industry. So you've got to know I was all over Garry Marshall's new autobiography that came out this year. I know Marshall as the successful writer-producer of several of my favorite TV shows from the 1970s. But his very long and successful career in Hollywood, before and after these TV shows, fills the pages of this book with his keys to success for what it takes to make it in the crazy business Yes, I watch alot of TV. But I also read quite a bit. And, yes, I read about the television and film industry. So you've got to know I was all over Garry Marshall's new autobiography that came out this year. I know Marshall as the successful writer-producer of several of my favorite TV shows from the 1970s. But his very long and successful career in Hollywood, before and after these TV shows, fills the pages of this book with his keys to success for what it takes to make it in the crazy business of show.

Even if the name Garry Marshall doesn't mean something to you immediately, you may recognize his face. He's made screen appearances many times on TV. Some times he's sitting behind a drum kit on Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. He also played TV network executive Stan Lansing on Murphy Brown for several seasons. But these acting gigs are very minor in this man's career.

Garry Marshall is more known as the very successful write-producer-director of some of the biggest successes in Hollywood. Starting his career as a writer, he penned jokes for stand-up comedians in New York. By the 1960s, he was writing for The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Joey Bishop Show and The Lucy Show. He parlayed those successes into producing and writing for TV series including The Odd Couple, Happy Days and the spin-offs Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, and Joanie Loves Chachie.

Marshall used the skills he learned in television to become the go-to film director for some of Hollywood's biggest romantic comedies. Maybe you've heard of a couple of his films: Beaches, Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, The Princess Diaries--and more recently the ensemble films Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve?


One of the things I loved about reading his book is that I could hear his thick New York accent (he's from the Bronx) as I read the sentences. His own unique voice, literally and figuratively, can be heard as he describes his career successes and failures. I found his experiences to be quite inspirational as he details how he's learned from his own failures (and successes) to continue taking chances and moving forward in such a tough industry. I learned how hard he worked as a writer in order to make his way into the industry, even giving away jokes in order to earn the trust and respect of successful comedians.

A difficult experience early on was the tension and fighting on the set of Laverne & Shirley. It's amazing how hard he is on Penny Marshall (his real-life little sister) who played Laverne DeFazio in that series. Perhaps he's able to be more truthful because they are family. But those professional difficulties are coupled with exuberant pride for his sister on her own film directing successes--you know she directed Big, A League of Their Own and Preacher's Wife, right? But learning how to work with the difficult women on Laverne & Shirley gave Garry the confidence to move into film directing and to get the best performances from strong women such as Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey in Beaches, Michelle Pfeiffer in Frankie and Johnny, Goldie Hawn in Overboard, Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries and its sequel, and Jane Fonda and Lindsey Lohan in Georgia Rule.

It was also interesting to read about how hard he works to make his film sets a pleasant work place. No wonder he's been in this industry for so long--he knows enough to surround himself with the people he knows he can work with comfortably and creates a relaxing atmosphere for everyone else. This explains why he's worked with some of the same people over and over again both in front of and behind the camera. Did you know actor Hector Elizondo has appeared in all of Marshall's films?

I initially picked up Marshall's autobiography because I was interested in learning more about the TV shows I grew up watching such as The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy. But I ended up being more impressed by this one man's ability and willingness to adapt and move forward with a positive attitude after struggling and sometimes failing. Isn't that what we're all trying to do with our lives? ...more
4

Jul 02, 2013

Tom Emory, Jr. Review -- Garry Marshall writes like hes the Will Rogers of Hollywood. His memoir My Happy Days in Hollywood has wonderful things to say about everyone (including even Lindsay Lohan). He apparently has never met a man (or woman) he didn't like and admire and respect. Looking back at a nearly 60-year career, he is generous and happy and considerate and kind. Its best to read this extremely readable and likable book in a cool location since the book radiates its own warmth.

Garry Tom Emory, Jr. Review -- Garry Marshall writes like he’s the Will Rogers of Hollywood. His memoir “My Happy Days in Hollywood” has wonderful things to say about everyone (including even Lindsay Lohan). He apparently has never met a man (or woman) he didn't like and admire and respect. Looking back at a nearly 60-year career, he is generous and happy and considerate and kind. It’s best to read this extremely readable and likable book in a cool location since the book radiates its own warmth.

Garry Marshall created “Happy Days” and “Laverne and Shirley” and “Mork and Mindy.” He also created “Blansky’s Beauties” and “Me and the Chimp” and “Evil Roy Slade."

He also had on the big screen “Pretty Woman” and “Runaway Bride,” “Beaches” and “Overboard.” There also were “Young Doctors in Love” and “Exit to Eden” and “The Grasshopper.” He had good television and movies and he had bad television and movies but the reality is that he had more bad than good and his good is memorable and perhaps on the cusp of classic.

Before he was the Hollywood writer and director and producer, he was just Garry Kent Marshall from the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, New York. He writes he was a sick kid but a good and enthusiastic athlete and a good student. His father ignored him until he went to college and his dance teacher mother was good for jokes and dance classes but didn’t seem all that maternal. There’s a good chance his outlook on life and his career were shaped by trying to prove himself to his parents, first as a comedian at home and then in small clubs, then a writer, and almost at every step of his life. What is obvious is that he formed his happy outlook on life right there in an apartment in the Bronx. He says it himself in the book, ”I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy.”

He does glory in his successes but doesn’t spare himself criticism for his mistakes and misses. He takes credit for trying to hold productions together but is unsparing in his praise for the actors and other people who make shows, all types of shows. He in unstinting in his good humor about his foibles and shortcomings but consistently says he mostly is saved by other people and their talents.

Every possible Hollywood “star” makes his book – Robert DeNiro, Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, Tony Randall and Jack Klugman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Al Pacino. This list goes on and on and it is impressive. It’s Old Hollywood and New Hollywood; it’s television and it’s movies. It’s the cast from “Happy Days” with Ron Howard and Henry Winkler; and Laverne and Shirley with Cindy Williams and his sister, Penny Marshall; and “Mork and Mindy” with Robin Williams and Pam Dawber. The pages drip sugar describing his love, respect, admiration, etc., for all of these people and many, many, many more.

The author, who co-wrote this memoir with his daughter, Lori Marshall, keeps his eye on all the good things that happened to him, all the important people who helped him along the way and even the crews who helped him day-to-day in the business of making movies and television shows.

There is no dirt in this book, no Hollywood dirt, no New York dirt. It’s simply a book of memories of a man who made and loved television shows, movies, plays and the people who created them with him. It also is about Garry Marshall and his wife, Barbara, who made a good team at home with their two daughters and son, and who grabbed the brass ring where Hollywood marriages are concerned.

“My Happy Days in Hollywood” is not a 5-star or a 4-star book, few celebrity books get superior ratings. It is, however, time well spent in the company of a good man who loves his family and his friends and his work, and who has made us laugh for a lot of years.

Aside: Garry Marshall apparently loves everyone and names just about everyone in his movies. However, he must hate Chris Meloni, a costar from “Runaway Bride.” Meloni (think “Law and Order SVU”) doesn’t get so much as a “hi-howdy” in the book and he had a pretty big role in the movie. There’s got to be a back story there.

Second Aside: I was telling my young son about this book and said that Garry Marshall had created “Laverne and Shirley.” My son looked at me and said, “Is that the one where they hold hands and drive off a cliff?” Ugh!

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NOTE: Garry Marshall died July 19, 2016. In honor of his celebrated career, I have raised my star rating to a FOUR. It's a shame my review won't be used as an obituary or a eulogy. ...more
3

Apr 07, 2013

This memoir clearly demonstrates that Garry Marshall plans to continue working in Hollywood. Why do I say that? Where's the dirt? It is almost as if he has nothing at all negative to say about those actors and actresses he has worked with, even those who acted negatively. Oh, he mentions that some are difficult to deal with. He describes the happiest days of his life (working on Happy Days) and the darkest days (Laverne and Shirley). The closest he gets to demeaning any of those he has worked This memoir clearly demonstrates that Garry Marshall plans to continue working in Hollywood. Why do I say that? Where's the dirt? It is almost as if he has nothing at all negative to say about those actors and actresses he has worked with, even those who acted negatively. Oh, he mentions that some are difficult to deal with. He describes the happiest days of his life (working on Happy Days) and the darkest days (Laverne and Shirley). The closest he gets to demeaning any of those he has worked with is to suggest that his sister, Penny, and her co-star, Cindy Williams, were overwhelmed by their fame and immature. That word is the one he chooses to use.. immature.

Still, the reader is given an inside peak at how Marshall accomplished so much.. We read about his sorrows over failures (Young Doctors in love and Exit to Eden) and about his desire to make wholesome films that his grandchildren can enjoy. We read about real actors and actresses like Julia Roberts and Julie Andrews as well as Ron Howard and Henry Winkler.

Finally, in what I felt was a great revelation he mentioned how the phrase "Jumping the Shark" became part of the Hollywood vernacular and how instead of being embarrassed or humiliated by it, he was glad he was able to contribute.

Marshall is obviously a very positve man, who seeks to look at life from the most positive side of life. I enjoyed this book and its title is a bullseye, because Marshall dwells pretty much only on the Happiness he has found in his vocation. I would have liked to have heard some of the dirt and more about how they dealt with problems, etc. Still, he warned us in the title it was about his happy days, not his sad ones. ...more
3

Apr 14, 2013

Garry Marshall has, in my opinion, made a career on making pleasant yet forgettable shows and films. You watch them, smile a little, and move on. His autobiography is much the same way. He's a nice guy and his story is a successful one, but the book is ultimately very... okay.

The first half covers his life as a sick kid growing up in the Bronx and rising up as a writer for people like Danny Thomas and Joey Bishop. The story is pretty fascinating, to be sure, and it's a breezy narrative that Garry Marshall has, in my opinion, made a career on making pleasant yet forgettable shows and films. You watch them, smile a little, and move on. His autobiography is much the same way. He's a nice guy and his story is a successful one, but the book is ultimately very... okay.

The first half covers his life as a sick kid growing up in the Bronx and rising up as a writer for people like Danny Thomas and Joey Bishop. The story is pretty fascinating, to be sure, and it's a breezy narrative that entertains but never grips you.

And then the book turns repetitive. Instead of a life story building, each chapter is about one TV show or movie he makes. It's a lazy way to tell his story after a fairly promising start. You feel the structure creep in and restrict the story, not good for an autobiography. You live life in an unpredictable series of hills and depressions, not as a collection of cute little episodes. C'mon, Garry!

Marshall's voice is genial and good-natured, but not especially hilarious. You might smile from time to time but it'll be the story and not his way of telling it that works. Also, his view of women is quite old-fashioned and really throws a monkey wrench into the narrative at times.

If you want a show biz story, you'll get about half of a good one here. If you're looking for behind-the-scenes info on his films, you'll find quick collections of stories in the other half.

What we have here are two halves of two different books: an autobiography and a collection of press booklets. And both of them aren't particularly memorable. It's the literary equivalent of peanut butter and jelly. ...more
5

May 06, 2012

Garry Marshall is a writer, director, producer, and actor of TV and movies. This book was so enjoyable to read. He comes across as just a regular guy who loves his wife and family and likes to stay close to home. He and his wife have been married for 50 years which must be some kind of record in Hollywood. They have 3 children and 6 grandchildren and all have appeared in or worked on his projects in some fashion or other. If you are expecting one of those books where the author slams everyone he Garry Marshall is a writer, director, producer, and actor of TV and movies. This book was so enjoyable to read. He comes across as just a regular guy who loves his wife and family and likes to stay close to home. He and his wife have been married for 50 years which must be some kind of record in Hollywood. They have 3 children and 6 grandchildren and all have appeared in or worked on his projects in some fashion or other. If you are expecting one of those books where the author slams everyone he knows and everyone he has ever worked with, this is not that book. Although he touches on some problems with his show Laverne and Shirley, Mr. Happy Days comes across as someone who loves his job and just wants to accentuate the positives in his life. He has worked with many major stars in Hollywood and he seems to love them all. This was just a quick, enjoyable read, only 264 pages and he touches on his early life in the Bronx and his stint in the Army and touches on most every movie he has made. He talks about how enjoyable Happy Days was, about working with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Garner, Hillary Swank, Ashton Kutcher. He talks about his relationships with his family. I would read this book again, just for the enjoyment it gave to read a memoir without a lot of negativity. ...more
4

Aug 23, 2012

I really enjoyed this book. Garry's shows "Happy Days" & "Laverne & Shirley" are a fond memory of my childhood. Every Tuesday night, we had to have our homework done, so we could watch those shows before bed. Some of my favorite movies were directed by Garry Marshall: "Beaches", "Pretty Woman", "The Other Sister" & "Princess Diaries". He has brought years of entertaining tv shows and movies for our enjoyment. I really loved reading about little happenings on set and his dealings and I really enjoyed this book. Garry's shows "Happy Days" & "Laverne & Shirley" are a fond memory of my childhood. Every Tuesday night, we had to have our homework done, so we could watch those shows before bed. Some of my favorite movies were directed by Garry Marshall: "Beaches", "Pretty Woman", "The Other Sister" & "Princess Diaries". He has brought years of entertaining tv shows and movies for our enjoyment. I really loved reading about little happenings on set and his dealings and relationships with all the famous people he has worked with. Garry is a great storyteller. Garry did not trash anyone in the book. Even if there was something negative he said about someone, he included it with good things about that person too. Even though Garry is close to 80 years old, he still seems to be going strong. I hope he brings us some more romantic comedies for us to enjoy. ...more
4

Jun 19, 2012

good autobiography from Garry Marshall. Garry gives a great account of his television shows and movies he has produced. from The Odd Couple to Mork and Mindy, Happy days and Laverne and Shirley. he was honest but fair about the "happy times on Happy Days' and the not so happy times on Laverne and Shirley. he talks about his movies 17 as of his writing. such as Pretty Woman and a very young Julia Roberts. to New Years eve his most recent directing experience. i really enjoyed reading this account good autobiography from Garry Marshall. Garry gives a great account of his television shows and movies he has produced. from The Odd Couple to Mork and Mindy, Happy days and Laverne and Shirley. he was honest but fair about the "happy times on Happy Days' and the not so happy times on Laverne and Shirley. he talks about his movies 17 as of his writing. such as Pretty Woman and a very young Julia Roberts. to New Years eve his most recent directing experience. i really enjoyed reading this account on Garry Marshall's experiences in Television and movies. ...more
2

Jul 24, 2013

I hate to say this, but this book, by a man that I love, admire and respect as a comedic artist, is incredibly boring and surprisingly unfunny.

Garry Marshall has created and/or worked on some of the most iconic TV shows (Dick Van Dyke, The Odd Couple, Happy Days) and films (Pretty Woman) ever made and therefore, I expected the ride in the book to be much more interesting.

It's just not a good read. It makes me wonder if it was ghost-written by someone without a sense of humor. It's just dry and I hate to say this, but this book, by a man that I love, admire and respect as a comedic artist, is incredibly boring and surprisingly unfunny.

Garry Marshall has created and/or worked on some of the most iconic TV shows (Dick Van Dyke, The Odd Couple, Happy Days) and films (Pretty Woman) ever made and therefore, I expected the ride in the book to be much more interesting.

It's just not a good read. It makes me wonder if it was ghost-written by someone without a sense of humor. It's just dry and not intriguing.

I couldn't even finish it. Made it 1/3 of the way in. ...more
4

Jun 02, 2014

The book reads like he talks and made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion. As a tv addict, it was fun to read about his rise through the ranks and his dealings with some of the biggest stars and egos. Through it all, Mr. Marshall maintains his sense of humor and down-to-earth attitudes. He's not the best writer for this medium and tends to interject asides in the middle of a chapter, often repeating something he's already mentioned. A better editor would have caught this, but it's still The book reads like he talks and made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion. As a tv addict, it was fun to read about his rise through the ranks and his dealings with some of the biggest stars and egos. Through it all, Mr. Marshall maintains his sense of humor and down-to-earth attitudes. He's not the best writer for this medium and tends to interject asides in the middle of a chapter, often repeating something he's already mentioned. A better editor would have caught this, but it's still very enjoyable reading. ...more

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