By George Pennacchio
LOS ANGELES — During her life, we knew Penny Marshall mainly as a comedic actress, and later, as a celebrated director. But she also had another talent and she spent decades working on it. Marshall was a collector. And when it came to collecting, you could say Penny was in a league of her own.
Marshall had a collection of baseballs. The director of “A League of Their Own” and “Big” actually had, by her daughter’s account, more than 50 different collections of various things.
“She collected quilts and Beacon blankets and ribbon ladies and memorial arts and every kind of kitsch and dishes and Bakelite. You name it!” said Reiner.
Now, more than 300 items from Marshall’s estate are heading for an online auction on Sunday, September 13th. Abell Auction Company says there may be something in your price range.
“So you’re able to buy items that range anywhere from $50 to upwards of $40,000,” said Joe Baratta, Abell Auction Co.
The daughter of the star of TV’s “Laverne & Shirley” is now working to honor her mother, who died in 2018. The two started talking a decade ago about all of Penny’s belongings… with many pieces already donated to art museums, sports museums and universities, all at Marshall’s request. Reiner hopes the items now up for auction go to people who will love them like her mother did.
One lighting item that caught my eye. It had a sign that said: “Electrocution in progress when lit.”
“For a time, my Mom was fascinated with serial killers,” laughed Reiner.
Marshall had a room just for her collection of ships and boats. I asked Reiner if her Mom was a hoarder. “Perhaps. It’s a form of mania in the most creative of ways that then she turned into really wanting to have an impact as opposed to just hoarding it.
For instance, with her art collection, Marshall liked to champion the work of the unacknowledged.
Her tastes were eclectic, for sure.
“For someone who wore sparkly tennis shoe Converse all the time and, you know, sports clothes, she had the most feminine boudoir-lamped room you’ve ever seen,” said Reiner. “And it was very beautiful.”