In a sunny living room with mirrored walls and French doors leading to a lush private patio, veteran TV director Howard Storm surrounds himself with precious photos, celebrating his life and career across eight decades.
Storm directed episodes of classics such as “Laverne & Shirley” and “Everybody Loves Raymond,” but among the pictures on display his favorites are the 1978 shots with Robin Williams and Gary Marshall, from the first season of “Mork & Mindy.”
“Robin and Gary were very important to my career. I did 59 episodes of ‘Mork & Mindy’ for Gary,” who was the executive producer, said Storm, 88. “The first day I started to work with Robin, I came home from set and said to my wife, ‘This is like working with Charlie Chaplin. This kid is a genius — it’s scary.’ The first year I had a beard so he referred to me as Papa, like Papa Hemingway.”
The black-and-white photo depicts Storm, smiling in a flannel shirt and bomber jacket, held tight by a 27-year-old, doe-eyed Williams, who is gazing off in the distance.
“Look at his face — there’s such sadness there. I never realized it till years later when I looked at that picture. I just loved him. It was a very painful thing to hear of his death,” said Storm, who recalls this and many other stories in his memoir “The Imperfect Storm,” recounting his years as a stand-up comic, actor, improv teacher and director, written with author Steve Stoliar and published by BearManor Media. Book Soup in West Hollywood will host a book signing Tuesday night.
The director’s 3,500-square-foot Beverly Hills home also features shots of actress Doris Roberts, Improv comedy club founder Budd Friedman, and a black-and-white image of Storm as a little boy with lipstick smeared on his face.
“That was me at 4 years old; somebody kissed my cheeks,” he said. “My younger grandson has that same look in his eyes; there’s always some mischief that happened.”
Other family photos include a 1990 snapshot of Storm sandwiched between his two sons, Casey and Anthony, who are 21 months apart, and a candid moment dancing with his wife at the Playboy Mansion.
Why is this your favorite room?
Because of the beauty of it. Patricia did a great job decorating. It’s a very comfortable room because of the colors, and a bright room because a lot of light comes in. This is the perfect place to sit down and have a Jack Daniels on the rocks. I start every dinner with that. One shot.
How would you describe your design style?
Lacking. All of this was done by Patricia and a friend of ours who is a decorator. They would show me stuff and I’d agree to it. But I had no idea. Just give me a chair and I’m happy.
Tell me about the table with all the little horse figurines.
Patricia just loves horses and used to ride them and has won all kinds of awards. She was really good. So every time I see a horse that’s interesting I buy it.
Tell me about the art in here.
Both of the pieces are by a woman named Joan Ransohoff. She was married to a very well-known producer, Marty Ransohoff, and is a wonderful artist. Patrica loves her work and buys her paintings.
What’s that award on the piano?
This was the Spotlight Award from the Beverly Hills Theater Guild [in March 2019]. It was me and Eva Marie Saint, which was pretty impressive. I was in shock.
Do you have a favorite memory in here?
It was quite recent — my 88th birthday — and both my sons were here, and they were seated in these two chairs. It was a dinner party that Patricia gave. Every time I’m with my sons it’s a favorite moment; I just adore them. They’re just great guys, very talented and successful and funny. They tease me a lot. I don’t mind it — I know where it comes from and it’s not mean, it’s sweet and affectionate. They’re busy, so any time I get to see them together is just lovely.