Penny Marshall gave a short interview to the New Yorker this week and talked about her friend Robin Williams. She’s devastated, as all the late actor’s friends are, by the loss of this very humane, gracious, energetic and deeply troubled man. Marshall tells writer Tad Friend how she had to field calls from other stricken celebs. Robert DeNiro, for one, called mystified and sad. And then her brother Garry Marshall, the great showman who created Mork & Mindy (Williams’ launching pad), brought tears to Penny’s eyes by crying himself–something he very rarely does, according to his sister.
But you know what else was sad about this interview? What brought tears to the eyes of many who read it? Penny Marshall is lighting up cigarettes. (Gambler brand, Friend can’t help but inform us.) Marshall talks about how she’s about the same age as Williams was and how she wants to live longer. Maybe not as long as Lauren Bacall — “she was eighty-nine–I want to be dead at eighty-nine.” She’ll probably get her wish. Penny Marshall was diagnosed with and treated for lung cancer in 2009. During the interview a reader can hear her lungs yell no! as she lights up. Gamber brand, indeed.