Garry Marshall, the creator of Happy Days no more alive



Garry Kent Marshall, an American actor, director, writer, and producer, has died Tuesday in Burbank, California, due to complications of pneumonia following a stroke. He was 81.

Marshall is the creator of Happy Days and director of Pretty Woman. His other notable credits included developing Neil Simon’s 1965 play, The Odd Couple for television, and Runaway Bride, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Mother’s Day, The Princess Diaries, and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.

Marshall began his career as a joke writer for such comedians as Joey Bishop and Phil Foster, and then became a writer for The Tonight Show with Jack Paar. In 1961 he moved to Hollywood, where he teamed up with Jerry Belson as a writer for television. Their first television series as creator/producers was Hey, Landlord, which lasted one season (1966–67).

Garry Marshall also went on to direct hit movies including “Pretty Woman” and “The Princess Diaries,” “Happy Days” star Henry Winkler credited him for launching his career, tweeting “Thank you for my professional life.” “Happy Days” was the No. 1 show on television during the 1976-77 season, No. 2 in 1977-78 and No. 4 the following year.

Richard Gere, who played in “Pretty Woman,” told about Marshall late on Tuesday: “Garry of course was one of those truly important people one is blessed to meet in one’s lifetime. 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.”

Marshall told the New York Times that he wanted to create Roberts’ character somewhat less experienced.  “I knew if we lowered the age and made her a new girl in the business, then people would say, ‘Oh, please don’t do that, honey.’”

Directors Guild of America president Paris Barclay said in a statement late on Tuesday, “The loss today of Garry Marshall is deeply sad – for our industry, and for our Guild,” “Garry’s gift for storytelling brought joy, laughter and an enormous, beating heart to every screen, large and small.”

“But the vision, joy and camaraderie Garry brought to life didn’t’t stop behind the camera,” the statement goes on. “He channeled his love for the craft of directing into serving our Guild – dedicating himself to protecting the creative rights of directors, as well as teaching newer generations of directors how hard-fought the DGA’s journey has been, and the importance of carrying it forward. All the while, he kept us all smiling – no mean feat. It was an honor, and a delight, for all of us who had the pleasure of serving alongside of him.”

In 1996, Marshall was awarded the Women in Film Lucy Award in recognition of excellence and innovation in creative works. In 2012, he was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Marshall received the Valentine Davies Award (1995) and Laurel Award for TV Writing Achievement (2014) from the Writers Guild of America. Marshall also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Marshall died at the age of 81 in Burbank Tuesday.

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