TODAY | September 18, 2012
>> children, the she talented penny marshall is with us today.
>> her new memoir is called "my mother was nuts."
>> let's look at highlights from her life and career.
>> one, two, three, four.
>> penny marshall became a household name in 1976 playing laverne defazio in the country a's top-rated sitcom laverne and shirley about who friends that worked in a milwaukee brewery. after seven years of performing mad cap sketches with her co-star cindy williams , marshall turned to directing earning her place among the hollywood elite with "big" that starred tom hanks and groesed over $100 million, as did the 1992 film "a league of their own" about an all- american girls professional baseball league in the 1940s . a high profile marriage to actor and director rob reiner , a romance with art garfunkel and stories about her life both in hollywood and as a child growing up in the bronx are part of her newly released memoir, "my mother was nuts." what a title, huh? it's true.
>> great to have you penny.
>> thanks for having me.
>> how are you feeling? everybody thinks you --
>> don't knock it.
>> i'm fine. i've been fine. i go once a year. i dodged a big bullet. all these people that are saying saying, they write this --
>> too late. sorry.
>> you got that from carrie fisher , didn't you?
>> yeah, and everyone else. carrie has --
>> what a mouth.
>> well, we talk that way. what else is there to do?
>> why did you decide now was the time to put it down to paper?
>> my brother did his second book, so i thought, well, since i think i'm dying i might as well do something. i thought i'd write the thing, you know.
>> you're not currently looking to direct?
>> yes, they only do certain kinds of movies. i like a story.
>> an interesting dialogue and great characters we care about. imagine that?
>> i'm not doing vampires. on television i do some. you know, i don't -- there's so many channels, i don't know when the seasons are over.
>> what's in your go-to shows that you enjoy watching on tv?
>> comedy-wise? ""modern family" and the big bang theory , and that's multicamera. i like it better.
>> you tell the story of your life in this thing.
>> i think he was on laverne and shirley .
>> i probably was. we were thinking of moving to burbank -- we all moved to california for some crazy reason. i think it was --
>> i have to ask him about that.
>> do you still keep in touch with shirley?
>> yes, she's here actually. not in the studio. she's coming up tonight, i think. she's rehearsing a play, and she needs to learn some tap steps. i'm off toept, and you can come up. i'll teach you.
>> you're going to teach her how to tap dance ?
>> we should have a camera on that. people would love to see the two you back together.
>> she has to bring the script or do some thing to let me know what the step is.
>> tell us about the title "my mother was nuts."
>> what was your mom like?
>> my mother is still alive and totally nuts.
>> your mother wasn't crazy at all?
>> no, no.
>> mine was a little nuts. she was funny.
>> she did a good job with the two of you, don't you think?
>> you had to, or else you'd be crying all the time. she was very sarcastic, but she was very funny, too.
>> she said you are a miscarriage.
>> i was a mistake and miscarriage and so stubborn i held on.
>> that's shocking to hear a mother say that.
>> when you're young it's certainly shocking.
>> did make you stronger, penny?
>> you had to laugh or you'd kill yourself, come on. you'll go and form a sense of humor.
>> this book is full of humor. it's a fun read.
>> a million names that you worked with. i didn't know you wanted deniro first for the role --
>> tom turned it down and so did every other actor. it wasn't like that was my first choice. it was that i said, okay, let me go a different way, because there was vice versa and i like father like son. we'll come in before. look, he's in every comedy now. i knew bob for years, so i knew he had a different kind of sense of humor. let him dance on a piano. i'd watch it.
>> you brought us so much joy and so many laughs through the years.
>> he gave me a validity that made tom change his mind, and i'm happy i did it with tom, who was my first choice.
>> we encourage you to read "my mother was nuts." it's a lot of fun.
>> you mentioned syracuse having a thing, the women from league are having a reunion. it's going to the 20th anniversary of the movie.
>> oh, wow.
>> they're putting it on blu-ray. they're having a reunion in cooperstown.
>> there you go. thank you, penny.
>> hi to the women. i'm sorry i can't come to syracuse.