Garry Marshall, Show Creator and Beloved Director, Dies

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Garry Marshall, director, creator, actor, writer and personality, who enjoyed more than six decades making Hollywood memories and known for his uncanny ability to capture the heartstrings of audiences everywhere, passed away due to complications from pneumonia. He was 81.

A graduate of the journalism program from Northwestern University, Marshall moved to Hollywood in 1961 with big dreams. He began writing jokes for The Late Show with Jack Parr and Joey Bishop and Phil Foster.  Those gigs turned into television writing for similar sitcoms like The Dick Van Dyke ShowThe Lucy ShowThe Danny Thomas Show and The Jack Parr Show.

As a show creator Marshall developed a succession of television hits reflective of a simpler time in America with Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley starring his sister Penny Marshall, The Odd Couple, which has remained a favorite on stage and screen and Mork and Mindy with Pam Dawber and the late Robin Williams.

Born in the Bronx, Marshall was known to have quipped on one or more occasion, his New York accent was so thick he needed a translator. His roots were rarely capitalized on instead setting his shows in middle America appealing to a wider audience.

Marshall moved into directing creating films forever etched in the minds and hearts of millions of fans throughout the world including Beaches, Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, The Princess Diaries and most recently and his final film, Mother’s Day.

string of wildly successful romantic comedies turned unknown lead actress into America’s Sweetheart many times over beginning with Julia Roberts in the global phenomenon Pretty Womanthat also starred Richard Gere and Hector Elizondo and is still being re-released 25 years later, in countries just acquiring the technology to display the film. Anne Hathaway is another of Marshall’s discoveries, who went from schoolgirl to Princess in The Princess Diaries and its sequel.

Hector Elizondo, who appeared in all of Marshall's films, met him, it has been said while playing basketball and the two became friends. Fiercely loyal and re-paying loyalty Marshall wrote roles for Elizondo in every film he made.

Marshall’s last film Mother’s Day, released in April 2016, reunited Roberts and Elizondo and added Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Jason Sudeikis.

Known primarily for his work behind the camera, Marshall was also known for his cameo roles in front of the camera. A scene stealer, he was typically cast using his thick New York accent in roles that highlighted his ethnicity and comedic timing. He played a detective opposite Whoopi Goldberg in Jumpin’ Jack Flash, the businessman Walter Harvey, in A League of their Own and on television as the network president, Stan Lansing in the sitcom, Murphy Brown with Candice Bergen.

Marshall died in Burbank California after suffering complications from a recent stroke. He is survived by his legion of fans, his wife, Barbara and three children, director Scott Marshall, Lori and Kathleen, and his sister Penny Marshall.

Final arrangements are private.

Image from the premiere of Mother's Day from Open Road Films and Gulf Stream productions and used with permission.

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