Famous Alumni: Penny Marshall

Television star and director Penny Marshall went to three different summer camps and worked at a fourth camp before becoming the co-star of the Laverne & Shirley show and directing movies like Big, A League of Their Own, Cinderalla Man and Awakenings. As she explains in her recent memoir My Mother Was Nuts, going to summer camp was a family tradition:

Both of my parents spent their childhood summers at camp. My mother had been the dance counselor at Camp Geneva in Lake Como, Pennsylvania, and she kept going ever after she was married.

Penny first attended Camp Odetah in rural Connecticut: “On the first day I was placed in the extra milk line, given two chocolate milks every meal, and told to play. I never wanted to go back home.”

She then started going to Camp Geneva in Lake Como, Pa.: “Geneva was a kosher camp for rich Jewish kids. We, of course, were neither. We got in because my mother’s best friend, my fake aunt Blanche (she and my undle Leo were my godparents) was a Rabino, and they owned the camp.”

And then for a year she went to Camp Edgemont, a horseback-riding camp in Deposit, New York: “My mother was upset. ‘It’s not kosher!’ she said. What did it matter? We weren’t even Jewish.”

Marshall also worked at Camp Geneva, but spent a couple summers at Camp Diana-Dalmaqua in Glen Spey, New York, working as a counselor. The camp has since closed but there is a site dedicated to the camp that includes a page about Penny. According to the page, she was known, among other things, for her ability to open beer bottles with her teeth.

Marshall has more details about her summer camp experiences in her memoir, which you can purchase a Barnes & Noble HERE (affiliate link)

For our complete listing (to date) of celebrity summer campers, go to our Famous Summer Camp Alumni page.

Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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