From Robin Williams to Anne Hathaway: 10 careers Garry Marshall helped launchArchive
GARRY Marshall may be best known for gifting the world great comedies, from Happy Days to Pretty Woman, but he also had a lesser-known talent: launching the careers of famous actors. Since Marshall’s death at 81 on Tuesday, Hollywood stars have been flocking to social media to thank the director for giving them a chance. Here’s a look at 10 people who could thank him for their careers.
The world was first introduced to Williams in 1978 when he played Mork from Ork in the fish-out-of-water sitcom Mork & Mindy, which Marshall co-created. The show was the perfect vehicle for Williams’ manic humour, and it didn’t take long for him to graduate to headlining major features, including Popeye in 1980 and The World According to Garp in 1982.
Roberts was already on the rise when she starred in Marshall’s Pretty Woman in 1990, but she was known mainly for serious roles in ensemble dramas, like 1998’s Mystic Pizza and Steel Magnolias the following year (which earned her a supporting actress Oscar nomination). Her first star turn, playing a prostitute opposite Richard Gere, changed how the movie-going masses saw her. She was suddenly a comedic actress with the charm and physical humour of Lucille Ball. She became the romantic comedy actress for a while, starring in Notting Hill, My Best Friend’s Wedding and America’s Sweethearts. Pretty Woman got Roberts her second of four Academy Award nominations. (She won, in 2001, for Erin Brockovich.)
Pretty Woman also sparked a lasting friendship with Marshall, as the two collaborated on Runaway Bride, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
Just imagine: With no Garry Marshall, there would have been no Fonz — the leather jacket-wearing epitome of cool on the Marshall-created Happy Days. Of course Winkler wasn’t just the Fonz. He’s also starred in Arrested Development, Scream and Parks and Recreation among many, many other titles.
Nobody knew Hathaway when she starred as an ugly duckling in Marshall’s 2001 film The Princess Diaries — the only thing the actress had done before was the short-lived television series Get Real. It led to the similarly family-friendly Ella Enchanted, before she switched gears to the more adult Brokeback Mountain and The Devil Wears Prada.
The clear favourite for an Emmy this year for her work in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Paulson tweeted: “Garry Marshall, I am forever indebted to you. Thank you for taking a chance on me. I love you. On the wings on Angels, rest now.”
She’s referring to her early role in The Other Sister, the 1999 romantic comedy in which she played the sibling to Juliette Lewis’ title character.
Once a teen pop princess vying to be like Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears, Moore transitioned to the big screen thanks to Marshall, who cast her as the cheerleading mean girl in The Princess Diaries. Pretty quickly, her music career took a backseat to acting, which has included starring roles in cheesy teen movies A Walk to Remember, How to Deal and Chasing Liberty.
Years before Blossom, Marshall took a chance on the 13-year-old Bialik. He hired the young brunette actress — from scores of hopefuls — to play a younger version of Bette Midler’s character in Beaches, even though the two actresses looked nothing alike.
“I really don’t know why they picked me,” Bialik told People magazine. “They changed my hair colour, they changed the colour of my eyes, and they didn’t like my singing voice. Beats me.”
It turns out that what Bialik lacked in Midler-like looks, she made up for in sass. She won over Marshall by showing up to the audition with a red wig and a pack of cigarettes.
“Mayim was shy at first, but the second time we saw her, she was cooking,” Marshall said at the time. “In the film she went fiat out.”
Happy Days launched Baio’s career and earned him a short-lived spin-off, Joanie Loves Chachi. He went on to star in the ‘80s sitcom Charles in Charge.
But this week, Baio is best known as a Republican convention speaker.
No Marshall retrospective would be complete without an Elizondo mention. The actor had supporting roles in more than a dozen of the director’s movies, including The Flamingo Kid, The Princess Diaries, Frankie and Johnny and Exit to Eden. But it was probably his part as the kindly hotel manager in Pretty Woman that made the actor a fan favourite.
The former Brat Packer took to Twitter to celebrate Marshall, who gave the actor a shot when he was just a teenager. (We’re still trying to figure out what the project was.)
“Garry Marshall hired me at 15 years old. He gave my wife her start at 18, as a makeup artist. He changed our lives. And MANY others. #love”
—By arrangement with The Washington Post
Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2016