With a degree in fine art, Marilyn always assumed she would be an illustrator. But when, early in her career, she was presented with an opportunity to write, she seized it and quickly discovered that she had found her true love. No sad, sappy stories for her, however. She likes to make herself laugh and with that her characters usually end up looking pretty silly for one reason or another.
Her first children’s book featured a fastidious little English boy named Alistair Grittle. Having created a boy with such perfect behavior, she then turned her attention to a not so perfectly behaved little boy. His name was P.J. Funnybunny, and he has existed for many years in a series of books, including highly prestigious spots in the Dr. Seuss Cat In the Hat series.
Marilyn’s television credits include two PBS Reading Rainbow programs featuring Alistair, an Alistair program for the BBC, three ABC Weekend Specials featuring P.J. Funnybunny, and a show based on her children’s book, Elizabeth and Larry, for Showtime’s Shelley Duvall’s Bedtime Stories.
Between 1999 and 2004, The Disney Channel produced three Original Movies based on Marilyn’s book, Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century. Each of Disney’s Zenon movies had exceptionally high ratings, with Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century and Zenon the Zequel among the highest rated shows in the history of The Disney Channel. In 2004, Playhouse Disney began production on Marilyn’s animated series, Handy Manny. Handy Manny premiered September 16, 2006, as the highest rated Playhouse Disney series premiere of all time. After its debut, Handy Manny averaged approximately 2 million viewers a week, generating consistent critical acclaim with a deeply loyal audience. In 2009, Marilyn was nominated for an Emmy Award as Executive Producer of Handy Manny in the category of “Outstanding Special Class Animated Program”.