BetteBack June 14, 1992: Garry Marshall Tells His Star Secrets

The Canberra Times
A director tells his star secret
June 14, 1992


GARRY Marshall, who has served as producer of TV showssuch as Happy Days, Laverne &Mtrley and Afork and Mindy and alsodirected movies including Pretty Woman and Frankie and Johnny. says hehas a secret when working with stars.

“I always try to hire an adult to work on a project. Hector Elizondo is one ofmy favourite adults. (Elizondo costarred in Pretty Woman). All of my shows had an adult. Conrad Janis Mork and Mindy, Tom Bosley on Happy Days. Ron Howard was kind of a young adult, he was so experienced. And Bcity Garrett on Laverne & Shirley. They always hold down the fort.”

Sometimes he seeks out an adult forasingle project

“It’s so you don’t go berserk,” he says I m a director who allows temperament. I think that temperament is part of the arts, part of the creative process,temperament So, you’re allowed to be a little crazy. But you have lo have somebody who is an adult who’s not crazy allthe time. And you can say, Today yougotta be an adult for me because it’s atough day or something.’ “

Some days he conscripts an actor for the job: I’II say to AI Pacino – which happened – ‘Michelle’s [PfeifTer] brother is in the hospital so she’s a little shaky today. Vou have to help me carry this today.’ I don’t say it outright but I’d say, ‘Be an adult with me today – we have no time for temperament cause she s got a thing.’ And then the opposite. On another occasion I said to Michelle, ‘Hey, tomorrow is the Academy Awards, and he’s a little nervous, not so concentrated, so you and I will carry it.’ And they usually respond very well-if I explain why.”

There are some that you can always count on, he says. “Bette Midler. No matter what’s happening you’ can say,Bette, I’m in trouble’ and suddenly she’s in  charge and supporting.

We had an actor in Beaches who was having all sorts of marital problems and she just took over and made it easier for him.

Marshall’s sister, Penny Marshallworked for many years with him onLaverne & Shirley:

“My sister’s like that,” he says. “Doesnothing except in crisis. In a crisisthere’s nobody better. She just wandersalong, but if something goes wrong, yougo to Penny and she’ll always comethrough for you.”

He remembers one time during filming of Laverne & Shirley when therewas a bomb scare. The studio audiencehad already assembled. “So we had to tell the audience to go home; 300 people had to go home a little depressed. So I said, ‘Penny, this is not good. Let’s do something. Let’s go out in the street like we used to do with Mom.’

“So we got a truck and they got the whole cast on back of a truck, they sang songs and told jokes. People lined up along Melrose on the sidewalk. And we did something just so they wouldn’t have to go away for nothing. And Penny was a giant that night. Penny was standing on the top of a track entertaining.Nobody paid her. We had a crisis.”

Marshall cast Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, which really launched her as alop-name actress. He says he saw in thedailies that something was happening.

“I felt that she was lighting up the screen. We all felt that. We knew each daily there was something that she really mi it Richard [Gere] was solid as a rock, but she was the rocket Thank God he took the role of the adult with Hector. both saying, ‘We’re good. But this girl is special in this role. Let’s back ofT and give her room.’ And they did.”

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