5 Little Known Facts About Garry Marshall’s Biggest Hits

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In light of the legendary director’s passing at 81, we took a look back at his career to find five things you may not know about some of Garry Marshall’s greatest works.

From creating and/or directing projects from Happy Days to Laverne & Shirley to Pretty Woman, Garry Marshall’s résumé is virtually unmatched in the entertainment world. Not only that, but his many groundbreaking TV series and beloved films left an indelible mark on both mediums, creating a mould for future generations to follow.

In light of the legendary director’s passing at 81, we took a look back at his career to find five things you may not know about some of Marshall’s greatest works.

Happy Days

Imagine if, instead of “the Fonz,” we ended up with “the Mash.” It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it but it nearly happened. According to IMDB, Arthur Fonzarelli was almost christened with Garry Marshall’s real last name–Maschiarelli, which would result in the “Mash” tag. However, since CBS aired the juggernaut comedy M*A*S*H, the minds behind Happy Days figured they shouldn’t give a free shout-out to the competition in every episode. And so the Mash became the Fonz and the rest is TV history.

The Odd Couple

The casting of this show proved intriguing from the beginning. To start, Garry Marshall put his foot down when series star Tony Randall wanted Mickey Rooney to play opposite his Felix as Oscar. Instead, Marshall brought on Jack Klugman.

Of course, Marshall’s sister, actress/director Penny Marshall, played Myrna, Oscar’s secretary. When Myrna gets married on the show, Garry Marshall and other sister Ronny Hallin played Myrna’s siblings. And, of course, Rob Reiner, Penny’s real-life husband (at the time) played Myrna’s beau.

Laverne & Shirley

The antics of legendary duo Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney, from the TV classic Laverne & Shirley, were reportedly, according to Marshall, based on another great TV twosome that he’d hoped to emulate—Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz.

Mork and Mindy

The story of when Garry Marshall met Robin Williams for the first time during the latter’s audition for the role of Mork is everything you’d hope it’d be. Williams showed up for his audition, came in the room, met Marshall, grabbed a chair and then sat upside down on it (on his head). Marshall said it was then that he knew he’d found the perfect man to play his out-of-this-world character. As the director noted, “(Williams) was the only alien to audition.”

Pretty Woman

Talk about a hands-on director—Garry Marshall got up close and personal with his female lead, Julia Roberts, more than once during the filming of Pretty Woman. To start, Marshall wanted it to sound realistic when Roberts’ character, Vivian, is laughing while watching I Love Lucy reruns so he got down on the ground and tickled her feet.

As well, when Vivian and Edward, played by Richard Gere, jump under the covers, they aren’t alone. Roberts reportedly had a vein popping out of her forehead due to nerves so Marshall, being the consummate director, hopped into bed with the couple to massage the actress’s forehead.