Garry Marshall: 1934-2016, Happy Days Creator and Pretty Woman Director Dead at 81

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Garry Marshall, the actor, director and producer credited with creating classic ABC sitcoms Happy Days and Mork and Mindy, and directing films like Runaway Bride and The Princess Diaries franchise, has died at the age of 81. Marshall passed away from pneumonia-related complications following a stroke in a Burbank hospital last night, according to publicist Michelle Bega.

“He loved telling stories, making people laugh, and playing softball, winning numerous championships,” Bega remarked. “Even at age 81, he had a record this year of 6 – 1 pitching for his team.”

Marshall was known for his work on big-screen ‘80s hits like Beaches, Frankie and Johnny, and of course, the movie that launched Julia Roberts to fame, Pretty Woman. The iconic director, actor and producer worked in the film and television industry for more than half a century, with his career stretching back all the way to the 1950s.

Marshall contributed to The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Odd Couple’s television adaptation, Laverne and Shirley and more as a writer and producer, and lent his acting talents to shows like Louie, Two and a Half Men, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and BoJack Horseman. At the time of his death, Marshall had reportedly completed a rewrite for a musical adaptation of his hit movie Pretty Woman, and was working as an executive producer on the 2015 television series adaptation of The Odd Couple.

Marshall grew up in the Bronx in New York and attended Northwestern University, where he became a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and a writer for the college’s newspaper. He got his start as a television writer working on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar. Marshall is survived by his wife Barbara Sue Marshall, two sisters, three children and six grandchildren.

There has been an outpouring of support on Twitter from esteemed entertainers including Rob Lowe, Sarah Silverman, Mandy Moore, Zach Braff, Jessica Alba and many others, all of whom worked with Marshall in the past and had nothing but positive things to say about the late director. “Garry Marshall, I am forever indebted to you. Thank you for taking a chance on me. I love you. On the wings of Angels, rest now,” wrote Sarah Paulson in a heartfelt tweet early this morning.

Read our remembrance of Marshall and his vast and undeniable impact on pop culture here.