LOS ANGELES, July 20 (UPI) — Garry Marshall, creator of the Happy Days TV show and director of Pretty Woman, has died of complications from a stroke. He was 81.
Marshall, the older brother of actress and director Penny Marshall, created some the most iconic comedy shows on television and later took his talents to the big screen with several hit movies along the way he launched the careers of many actors including Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Ron Howard, Anne Hathaway, Henry Winkler and also his sister.
In the 1970s, Marshall brought the play and movie The Odd Couple to TV and created Happy Days, before spinning off characters to their own hit shows Lavern and Shirley and Mork and Mindy. The four sitcoms were among the biggest hits of the decade, and Happy Days, with its embrace of 1950s nostalgia, became very influential in a post-Vietnam era.
Over all, he developed 14 television sitcoms and executive produced more than 1,000 half-hour episodes of TV.
Henry Winkler, who shot to fame as “Fonzie” on Happy Days tweeted his gratitude to Marshall “Thank you for my professional life.”
As a movie director, his films include The Flamingo Kid, Nothing in Common, Beaches, Runaway Bride, and The Princess Diaries.
His final film, Mother’s Day, was released in April. The film brought him back together together with Roberts, the star of Pretty Woman.
“His shows are a gentle, generous, comic mirror held up to late mid-century America,” said Writer’s Guild of America West president Christopher Keyser in 2014. “And no one is a finer or funnier chronicler of friendship — male or female (or alien).”