Penny Marshall, notable for her starring role in the successful television series, Laverne and Shirley, as well directing such high grossing films as Big and A League of Their Own, has an interesting story to tell. She grew up in the Bronx, forced to take dance lessons for years at her mother’s dance studio. Her house was across the street from funnyman Carl Reiner and her brother, Garry, became well-known in the entertainment industry as a comedic script writer and producer.
While being surrounded by such talent is not a guarantee of success, for Penny Marshall, it definitely helped. As I read this book, it became clear that many doors were opened for her because of her family and friends. But Penny definitely deserved the opportunities. I got the impression that Ms. Marshall is a fun person to be around. She has a huge circle of friends – lots of A-listers among them. She likes to have a good time. But she also appears to have a heart of gold. When given the opportunity, she works hard, and has a natural talent for “funny.”
I especially enjoyed hearing about her first forays into directing – how she had studied various aspects on movie and t.v. sets beforehand, and how she asked for lots of help. Luckily for Ms. Marshall, she always had friends willing to lend a hand. When directing her first picture, Jumping Jack Flash, Steven Spielberg told her not to forget to remove the lens cap from the camera. And while humor abounds through her friendships and her book, Penny Marshall doesn’t hold back from the seriousness of life either. She discusses her failings, her health and her relationships. But I was impressed that she really doesn’t diss anyone. She’s doesn’t seem to be a strongly judgmental type. I liked that about her. And I did like this book.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2012