I’m not going to pretend I was a fan of Garry Marshall’s recent films, because I wasn’t.
But here’s what I did admire about Mr. Marshall.
By all accounts, he was one of the loveliest and sweetest individuals ever to work in Hollywood. I’ve heard a lot of stories about a lot of filmmakers over the years, and never, not once, did I hear anyone say a bad word about Mr. Marshall.
His loyalty to longtime associates was legendary. Character actors such as Hector Elizondo and Larry Miller are quite talented, but they’re hardly household names–yet Mr. Marshall found roles for them in film after film after film.
Mr. Marshall was also a brilliant judge of talent. He was huge champion of Henry Winkler and Robin Williams in the 1970s. He recognized the star potential of Julia Roberts in 1990, and Anne Hathaway 20 years later.
The original script for “Pretty Woman” by JF Lawton was titled “3000,” for the amount of money Edward (Richard Gere) was to pay Vivian (Roberts) for the weekend. Lawton saw the story as a dark cautionary tale, but Marshall envisioned it as a modern-day fairy tale.
In a comprehensive piece for Vanity Fair by Kate Erbland in 2015, Marshall says, “My vision was a combination of fairytales. Julia [Roberts] was Rapunzel, Richard [Gere] was Prince Charming and Hector [Elizondo] was the fairy godmother. It didn’t seem like a vision everybody would have, but I did.”
My favorite Garry Marshall films: “Nothing in Common” with Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason, and “The Flamingo Kid,” a period piece featuring one of Matt Dillon’s finest performances.