Hollywood Mourns Garry Marshall, the Legend Behind 'Happy Days' and 'Pretty Woman,' Dead at 81
Garry Marshall, the producer, writer, director and actor behind countless classic TV shows and films, has died. He was 81.
Marshall died Tuesday night of complications from pneumonia after suffering a stroke at a hospital in Burbank, California, his publicist said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press.
The native New Yorker was a Hollywood mainstay for decades, leaving his job as a reporter at the New York Daily News in 1961 to move to Los Angeles to write for television shows including The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Lucy Show and The Danny Thomas Show.
The brother of actress and director Penny Marshall also worked as a producer on The Odd Couple and then produced Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley (in which Penny starred) and Mork and Mindy before moving on to direct films in the 1980s.
"Critics have knocked me for targeting society's lowest common denominator," he said in his 1995 autobiography, Wake Me When It's Funny.
"I believe that television was, and still is, the only medium that can truly reach society's lowest common denominator and entertain those people who maybe can't afford a movie or a play. So why not reach them and do it well?" he wrote in the book, which was co-written with his daughter, Lori Marshall.
Marshall gained critical praise for his work directing Pretty Woman and went on to direct other beloved movies such as The Princess Diaries and Runaway Bride.
Tributes for Marshall poured in as word of his passing spread.
GARRY MARSHALL Rest In Peace .. Thank you for my professional life. Thank you for your loyalty , friendship and generosity .— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) July 20, 2016
I met Garry Marshall backstage last month at The Little Mermaid concert. I was just amazed and in awe of him. He was so lovely, so talented.— Rebel Wilson (@RebelWilson) July 20, 2016
Garry Marshall gave me one of the best experiences I ever had in my career. Thanks pal. RIP— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) July 20, 2016
The world has lost a great man, a comedy icon and a wonderful friend.— bob saget (@bobsaget) July 20, 2016
Rest in peace Garry Marshall.
We lost one of the all time greatest tonight. My dear friend, Garry Marshall, has passed away. My deepest thoughts to Barbara & the family.— Tony Danza (@TonyDanza) July 20, 2016
Marshall is survived by his wife, Barbara Sue Marshall, his three children Lori, Kathleen and Scott, and six grandchildren.
Loved ones will hold a private funeral service for Marshall, but a memorial is being planned for the legend to be held on his birthday, November 13, according to reports.