Garry Marshall, who created and executive produced some of the most popular sitcoms on TV — Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple and Mork & Mindy, among them — and directed the box-office smash Pretty Woman, has died. He was 81. Marshall reportedly recently suffered a stroke and succumbed after a bout of pneumonia at his home in Burbank, California. His most recent film was the April release Mother’s Day, which reunited him with his Pretty Woman star Julia Roberts. Marshall developed and created 14 TV series and executive produced more than 1,000 half-hour episodes.
Both of-their-time and timeless, his shows are a gentle, generous, comic mirror held up to late mid-century America. And no one is a finer or funnier chronicler of friendship — male or female (or alien).
WGA West president Christopher Keyser
Henry Winkler, who starred as The Fonz on Happy Days, said on Twitter: “GARRY MARSHALL Rest In Peace .. Thank you for my professional life. Thank you for your loyalty , friendship and generosity.” Richard Gere, who starred opposite Roberts in Pretty Woman, said in a statement that “everyone loved Garry”. He added: “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.” Born in the Bronx, Marshall began his entertainment career in the 1960s selling jokes to comedians, then moved to writing sketches for “The Tonight Show” with Jack Paar in New York. He caught the eye of comic Joey Bishop, who brought him to Los Angeles to write for “The Joey Bishop Show”. Reportedly, Marshall’s prolific success brought more than $350 million to the studio Paramount Television in one year alone.
You came in each day. You wrote five pages of jokes. You handed the pages in. … The pressure was to write five pages of jokes every day. I did it and I thought, ‘This is what I like to do.’