Good-Bye to ‘Pretty Woman’ Director Garry Marshall

July 22, 2016


“I am a total believer of making the process a good time–make it memorable, have some fun, try to shoot high in your quality and then don’t get crazy, see what happens.” –Garry Marshall

Cherished director, writer, producer, and actor Garry Marshall passed away in Burbank this week at the age of 81. Marshall’s prolific career included directing the hit movies Pretty WomanThe Princess Diaries, and The Flamingo Kid. However, he is often most credited for the creation of several smash hit 1970’s sitcoms like Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley starring his sister Penny Marshall, and Mork and Mindy which introduced Robin Williams to television audiences. Marshall also developed Neil Simon’s 1965 play The Odd Couple for ABC in 1970.

It should be no surprise that Marshall, who has kept America laughing for decades, started his career as a joke writer for other comedians and for The Tonight Show with Jack Paar. In the early 1960s, he ventured to Hollywood where he met up with writing partner Jerry Belson; together they worked on popular television shows of the time like The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Lucy Show.

Garry’s acting roles included the part of Walter Harvey in A League of Their Own, and the character Stan Lansing in Murphy Brown, but he acted consistently starting in the 1950s until the present year. He also voiced a number of characters like Buck Cluck in Chicken Little, as well as characters in The Simpsons and The Looney Tunes Show. All in all, Marshall touched so many lives through the course of his career which spanned 50-plus years. As the world mourns the iconic artist, so many in Hollywood are stepping forward with tributes to Marshall’s life.

Richard Gere who starred in Pretty Woman released a statement saying, “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.

Henry Wrinkler AKA The Fonz and star of Happy Days tweeted, “Garry Marshall Rest in Peace. Thank you for my professional life. Thank you for your loyalty, friendship and generosity.” Whoopi Goldberg, who acted with Garry in Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Soapdish in the late eighties and early nineties, expressed her appreciation for her time acting with him saying, “He was a really funny actor which people didn’t always know…I’m telling you: Funny, funny, funny, funny man. You’d be crying sitting next to him, and then you’d have to work with him. He was extraordinary.”

Sadly, Marshall died of complications from pneumonia after suffering a stroke. But thanks to his bounty of classic films and television shows, he’ll surely keep us smiling and laughing for many years to come.