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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 was among the most successful writers, directors, and producers in America for more than five decades. His work on the small and big screen delighted audiences for 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 was defined by his drive to make people laugh and whose personal philosophy—despite his tremendous achievements—was always that life is more important than show business.
Film and television producer Marshall expands on his previous memoir, Wake Me When It's Funny (1997), for another look back at his life and multifaceted career. After a sickly childhood growing up in the Bronx with sisters Ronny and Penny, he studied journalism at Northwestern, where he played drums in a band, wrote comedy skits and "only dated girls with cars because I didn't have one." Joining the army, he performed in Korea as a drummer and a comedian. Back in New York, he became a Tonight Show staff writer, heading west in 1961 to do sitcoms. Teaming with Jerry Belson, he churned out scripts for Joey Bishop, Lucille Ball, Dick Van Dyke, and others: "In one year my entire family moved to California and I was the only one working." At age 36, his big breakout came in 1970 when he and Belson coproduced TV's The Odd Couple, both a critical and popular success: "One well-respected show, and suddenly I was a player in show business." After mounting more TV hits (Happy Days; Laverne & Shirley, which starred his sister Penny; Mork & Mindy), he turned to directing movies (Pretty Woman, Beaches) and acting, including a recurring role on Murphy Brown. Marshall draws the reader in with a disarming manner and a casual, easy-to-read writing style, detailing early self-doubts as well as later triumphs. The result is an engaging and entertaining blend of honesty and humor, punctuated throughout with show business insights and anecdotes.