The Late Not Always So Great Garry Shandling

No, I am not being purposely mean and genuinely feel sorry for his passing.  But do have a story etched in my memory…a scar of sorts, I don’t harbor, but can’t deny is there.

It was 1990 when I was cast in a film called Quick Change with Bill Murray I thought would change my life.  It didn’t, but it did, for a little while, put me in a place where I auditioned with the best of the best.

I bonded with Geena Davis, one of the stars of Quick Change, who got me an audition for Garry Shandling’s, then, popular TV show.  It was such a grace and she, the loveliest of women to try to help me.  For the record, women as a rule, don’t help other women.  Geena was different in her avid generosity trying so hard to get me my next job.

So there I am, ready to read for Garry whose ego is (was) the size of Montana.  I’m siked, know the lines, hoping he’ll think I’m just what he’s looking for.  There are two audition pieces one much funnier than the other.  When I ask, could we choose that one?  He goes nuts telling me we’ll read the shorter one, because he has a lunch.  Needless to say, it didn’t go too well.  He calls Geena who’s anxious, on my behalf, hoping I get this job, telling her what a diva I am.


That was like calling Joan of Arc Elizabeth Taylor.

I didn’t get the job.  He hired instead this, quiet, mealy-mouthed actress resulting in the cancelation of his show.  I’m not saying if he hired me, it would have lived another season, but back then, I was young and so funny, willing to do whatever was necessary to bring people to their knees.  That eager, earnest kid deserved a chance.

I’m TRULY SORRY he has passed.  Garry Shandling was a very funny, talented man.

But he did make me cry for perhaps no other reason, except he was hungry.

RIP Garry.  Despite our unfortunate exchange, I’ve always admired you.

imagesNovember29, 1949-March 24, 2016





About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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33 Responses to The Late Not Always So Great Garry Shandling

  1. micklively says:

    The competition to appear on the telly is very stiff. Some folk will cope with that kind of pressure, egos intact, respectful and kind. Others are paranoid, vicious and shallow. You have to feel sorry for them.


  2. Susannah, I’m so sorry your experience with, Mr. Shandling, was so unpleasant, but I am so happy you did not disappoint. You see, this is just the sort of thing I have come to expect from you. Forgiving, not holding a grudge. Disappointed? Yes, but still able to see beyond that moment and focus in the present. His passing—anyone’s passing—being a sad time and your admiration for his talent, despite a bad encounter, you shine like the person I feel you to be. Have you and Geena Davis stayed in contact despite the phone call from Mr. Shandling that day. It would be sad to think that his phone call to her might have given her a bad impression of you, on account of his lunch engagement?


  3. P.S. you are hilarious on the plane near the end of “Quick Change”—Mrs, Russ Crane. 😀


    • So you were the one who saw it? Bill Murray’s movies are always so popular except for that one. It’s now more of a cult film. You watch it smoking pot eating pizza. 🙂


      • And I still was still conscious enough to laugh at you going berserk on that plane. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t have added hilarity to Garry’s show! 😀


      • Unlike now, I had brio plus. The reason Murray hired me was my willingness to make a total ass of myself. I remember the audition. Every well known model was there. I mean beauty plus and without sounding too self-effacing, I was second string. He asked me to do a pratfall I did without passing go in my faux Chanel suit. The other models I learned later refused to do it. Lucy who had just passed, I decided was,in the room cheering. I was a kid remember.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sweet innocence, Susannah. Besides, Bill is the same way, and you got the job. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • In regards to Bill Murray, he is by far the nicest person I’ve ever met in this otherwise cold-hearted business. To this day if I run in to him, and it happens, he hugs me and says, So how’s Mrs. Crane, all these years later. Sigh


      • LOL. I am so happy to hear that. Some years ago, my wife and I and the girls were at the AT&T (formerly Bing Crosby Pro-Am golf tournament) in Carmel. On the 5th hole, our girls saw Bill (they had just seen him in (Groundhog Day), and naturally they wanted his autograph. “Mr Murray, Mr. Murray, can we have your autograph?” Bill turns, looks at the girls, then looks back at me and say’s, “These are yours?” I say, “Yep.” he turns back to the girls and starts signing their books and say’s to them, “What are you guys doing here, aren’t you suppose to be in school?” and the girls say “No, it’s Saturday!” and Bill acts surprised as if he didn’t know that, smiles and hands the programs back to them and looks at me and say’s to the girls, “Don’t forget to put him on a leash girls (while he’s looking at me) if you’re going to walk him around here.” Everyone giggles. Love Bill. 😀


      • That’s a classic Bill if I’ve ever heard one. Thanks for sharing. 🙂


  4. skinnyuz2b says:

    I always liked Geena Davis and am happy to learn how nice she was off screen. I never cared for Garry’s show and only saw it a few times. Maybe he was only having a bad day, we all have them, but his bad day and nasty remark ended up screwing you. And not in a good way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was never really a Gary fan, and now knowing about that huge ego just confirms my decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so loyal. He was one lucky guy, I’ll tell you that. Not that he didn’t work hard because comedy is such a solo flight your private parts swingin in the breeze, so when a comic does well, he truly earned it. That said…some just arrive with more grace than others.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The thing people forget is that you will be successful if you are good whether you are nice or not so why not be nice. I had read somewhere that Bill Murray was difficult to work with but who knows. Anyone who does great work can be difficult because they want it right. I learned long ago that I don’t do well on “group” projects because I can’t tolerate stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My experience with Bill was stellar. He was the co-director as well as acting in it, so his plate was full. it was one of the greatest experiences of my life is how I recall it.

      Tolerance is a must, no question. So many different personalities to deal with who, from sheer exhaustion, become hard to fathom.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a very tough business and so few get to the top. Many, many talented people don’t make it. The daughter of a friend spent about 10 years in Hollywood getting gigs. She’s gorgeous and talented and got work fairly regularly. Sometimes though, a project went south after the fact and she wouldn’t get paid. She eventually got tired of it and got another job. If you look at her there’s not much difference between her and Jennifer Lawrence except some very good breaks and luck.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Some things are just not meant to be, as we sadly find out.


  7. Isaiah says:

    Your comments about the late Garry Shandling are carefully, even chivalrously, balanced. I did not know him nor any of the others named in your post – being very far from that world. But I was taken by your care in assessing him in the round and on the balance of considerations. One wishes that there was more of this in our country’s public life and, indeed, in our private lives. Thanks for illuminating the possibility.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a lovely thing to write, thank you. To be honest, I wondered if perhaps it was in poor taste since he is no longer, but it is part of my story and where would we be without them. Thank you so much.


  8. You’ve been in the unique position to see various people from both their on screen personas and in person. Hopefully he was just in a bad mood that day, but that does really suck. Would have loved to see you in a TV show, especially a funny one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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