Veteran writer-producer-director Garry Marshall is set to receive the Writers Guild of America, West’s 2014 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement on Feb. 1. This is WGAW’s highest award for television writing given to writers who have advanced the literature of television throughout the years and made outstanding contributions to the profession. Past recipients include Steven Bochco, Stephen J. Cannell and Larry David.
Marshall, a Bronx-born Northwestern University alum, began his career creating jokes for Lucille Ball, Dick Van Dyke and Danny Thomas. It was Joey Bishop’s calling in 1961 that led him to Hollywood… During those early years he also wrote for Love American Style, Gomer Pyle USMC and many other endearing shows. Over the past four decades Marshall has created or co-created and executive produced some of television’s most popular series including Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy, all of which are still being aired today in heavy rotation on a variety of channels. He has also written many successful feature films including The Flamingo Kid and The Other Sister. Directing blockbuster movies such as The Princess Diaries series starring Anne Hathaway and the Julia Roberts vehicles Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride have kept Marshall in the limelight for decades.
A member of the WGA since 1962, the union has been honoring Marshall’s work through the years: in 1967 he won an award for co-writing an episode of The Danny Thomas Special and in 1995 he took home WGAW’s Valentine Davies Award for the dignity and honor he has brought into the business. He also received several WGA nominations for The Dick Van Dyke Show and Danny Thomas programs.
“Garry Marshall’s filmography – from The Joey Bishop Show to Happy Days – is a virtual history of American television comedy,” says WGA West President Christopher Keyser. “[He is] beloved for his iconic work and the warmth of his spirit, today we rightly place him on the short list of the best of our best.”
By 1983 Marshall earned his Star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, in 1998 the Producers Guild of America honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award in Television, he accepted the Legend Award from TV Land in 2008 and was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Science’s Hall of Fame in 1997. Fifteen years later he was inaugurated into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame as well.
Marshall’s personal knack for comedy also shines through in acting roles turning in hilarious performances on television’s The Simpsons, Monk and Murphy Brown, as well as the big screen in Never Been Kissed, A League of Their Own, Soapdish, Hocus Pocus and Keeping Up with the Steins (directed by his son Scott).
Along with his daughter Kathleen, Marshall currently owns and operates the Falcon Theatre in Burbank. The venue has a stellar reputation of putting on top-of-the-line live productions that often sell out. He also co-wrote his memoir My Happy Days in Hollywood with his other daughter Lori in 2012.
The WGAW Awards Event will take place at the JW Marriot L.A. LIVE, 900 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90015 with cocktails at 4 p.m., followed by dinner at 5 p.m. and the ceremony 6 p.m.; Black tie. More information is at wga.org.