Sara Nelson counts the ways she loves Penny Marshall, as revealed in the actor/director's memoir My Mother Was Nuts.
Penny, she's just like us--only funnier and a whole lot richer. What I also like about her is that she's very . . .
Openminded: Growing up in the Bronx in New York in the 50s, she "never paid attention to ethnicities or skin color." Though "to this day people think we're Jewish," Marshall--whose father changed the family name from Masciarelli--says she and her two siblings, including Garry Marshall, the TV producer, were all raised in different churches.
Friendly: She met composer Marvin Hamlisch at Camp Edgemont, a horseback riding camp in Deposit, New York. "He sat at my table," she says. "I knew all of his food allergies."
Tough: When casting "A League of Their Own," she made her actresses--including Madonna, Debra Winger, Marisa Tomei, and Geena Davis--play ball during the audition. Can you guess who was the loser?
And, of course, Modest: A new superstar thanks to "Laverne and Shirley," Marshall pretended to take her young fame in stride. But when she met Louise Lasser, star of the then-hit "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," the two of them went to the ladies room and jumped up and down screaming, "We're famous, we're famous."
And so it began. . .