Garry Marshall, the awarded and well-loved director, producer and writer, died yesterday. At the age of 81, he suffered a stroke and later contracted pneumonia, passing away at a hospital in Burbank, California with his family.
While he may not be a familiar name to some, in the world of television and film he certainly made his mark.
Early on in his career, Marshall worked behind the scenes as a joke writer for shows like “The Tonight Show,” and later as a writer for “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Joey Bishop Show,” “The Lucy Show,” and “The Danny Thomas Show.”
In the mid-'60s, Marshall's professional career advanced as he created and executively produced shows such as “Happy Days,” “Mork and Mindy,” and “Laverne & Shirley,” all quickly becoming defining television shows for their times and establishing Marshall as a leading figure in the world of entertainment. These shows also gave many actors their start, like Robin Williams in “Mork and Mindy” and Henry Winkler in “Happy Days. Winkler tweeted on the day of Marshall's death, “GARRY MARSHALL Rest In Peace .. Thank you for my professional life.”
Following his work as a writer, Marshall went on to focus on directing films, including many favorites such as “Pretty Woman”––the iconic 90’s film––“Valentine’s Day,” Princess Diaries,” “Beaches,” and “New Year’s Eve.”
He also appeared in many films and television shows both as an actor and a voice actor, and was inducted into the “Television Hall of Fame,” as well as receiving many awards for all of his work in television and film.
“Garry, of course, was one of those truly important people one is blessed to meet in one’s lifetime," said Richard Gere, who worked alongside Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman." "Besides being the pulse and life force of ‘Pretty Woman’… a steady helmsman on a ship that could have easily capsized… he was a super fine and decent man, husband and father who brought real joy and love and infectious good spirits to everything and everyone he crossed paths with. Everyone loved Garry. He was a mentor and a cheerleader and one of the funniest men who ever lived. He had a heart of the purest gold and a soul full of mischief. He was Garry.”Garry Marshall is survived by his wife of 53 years, Barbara, a son and two daughters, along with six grandchildren, and his two sisters.