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Men's Health

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Q and A With Garry Marshall

The renowned director discusses his new film, New Year's Eve, plus the secrets to his health.


What starring role does your family play in your health?

I've been married to Barbara for 48 years. She's a nurse, and I listen to what she tells me. I also chase six grandchildren -- two 16-year-old twins, and kids ages 8, 6, 4, and 3.

Your mother was a dance instructor. Did you ever dance to keep in shape?

My mother danced all her life, but I was no good. I was a drummer, though, and I still play. I also play softball and I swim.

During long shooting days, how do you make time for physical activity?

No matter where we go, we climb up steps to get to the set, back and forth. I don't take many elevators.

How do you eat healthy at work?

My assistants work with me to get good food. Sometimes if I get too crazy and grab a candy bar, they take it away and hide it. Then, I'm a prisoner on the set!

What about your home cooking?

I don't cook: I washed dishes and cooked in college to pay my way through Northwestern University, and I said, "I'm never doing that again." Barbara cooks some, and she knows I love salad, tuna fish, pasta, hamburgers, nothing too exotic -- oh, and frozen yogurt.

What was the first health condition that altered your daily living? How did it change your approach to health?

When I was a very young, sickly kid, I tested allergic to 103 things. I outgrew [most of those allergies. Today] I skip gravies and sauces and eat a mostly bland diet.

How do you chill out?

I'm big on naps. They're scheduled for me, one-half hour daily, as "Garry's private time." My father, who lived to 92, took lots of naps and drank some vodka -- I don't do too much of that!

You're 77. How's your health now?

I'm pretty healthy, having beaten throat cancer and prostate cancer. The cures weren't fun, but I got through it. I feel very blessed and I get checked regularly.

What's your philosophy on aging well?

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