Penny Marshall

A new memoir by actress and director Penny Marshall hit bookstore last week.  Marshall was a big star in the 70s and 80s appearing on multiple TV shows and hanging out with the rest of Hollywood TV royalty.  Her stories about Hollywood are hysterical and tragic (she was friends with John Belushi).  She is also the first woman to gross $100 million as a director and her life as a director (she was asked if she wanted to direct) seems from another universe than the experiences that people have today. 

I sat down with the Hollywood legend last week to talk about her legacy.

Women and Hollywood Talk a little bit about why you chose the title - My Mother Was Nuts.

Penny Marshall: We're a little nuts.  I know a lot of people whose mother's were nuts. 

WaH: Your stories are really funny but they are also a cautionary tale with all the drugs that flowed.  How has Hollywood changed since the 70s and 80s.

PM: I've gotten older.  It was the 70s and 80s that was what was happening.  I don't do anything now because I am allergic to everything.  I don't even know what they do.  They drink a lot now.  One thing that has changed is the press how the younger actresses who run into problems and the rags do not help them.  II they need help, get them help.

WaH: So you mean the tabloidization of hollywood is a problem?

PM: It sucks

WaH: You started as an actress and you segued into directing.  Did you like one better?

PM: With directing I didn't have to wear makeup or get my hair done.  But I do not like getting up that early.  In TV we did our show in front of an audience so we got up early only one morning.  We did camera blocking in the morning and we shot at night which was a much more humane existence.  No one is funny at 7am.  It's faster to act but a lot of times you are sitting in a Winnebago waiting. Directing is more fun if you can create stuff.  If you can create business for people to do and not just pull lines out of people's mouths.  So if people come prepared then you can add business. I like behavior.