The comedy world lost another legend this week with last night’s news that Garry Marshall – creator, writer, producer, and director behind many classic sitcoms and films – died in California at the age of 81 following a series of strokes.
Marshall’s comedy career started in 1960 writing for Jack Paar on Tonight Show. After years of writing sitcom episodes on The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Lucy Show, and more with his partner Jerry Belson, in 1970 the two developed The Odd Couple for television, and Marshall went on to create and executive produce a string of hit ‘70s shows like Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Mork & Mindy. He also directed 18 films including Young Doctors in Love, The Flamingo Kid, Beaches, Pretty Woman, The Other Sister, The Princess Diaries, and in recent years, holiday films Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Mother’s Day. Above all of his professional accomplishments, Marshall had a reputation by all accounts in Hollywood of being a kind and generous guy. To get a sense of it, read this statement Pretty Woman costar Richard Gere released to The Hollywood Reporter following news of Marshall’s death:
Garry, of course, was one of those truly important people one is blessed to meet in one’s lifetime. Besides being the pulse and life force of Pretty Woman … a steady helmsman on a ship that could have easily capsized … he was a super-fine and decent man, husband and father who brought real joy and love and infectious good spirits to every thing and everyone he crossed paths with. Everyone loved Garry. 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.
Watch clips from two of Marshall’s most memorable onscreen roles in Albert Brooks’s 1985 film Lost in America as well as Louis C.K.’s Louie back in 2012 below: