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GARRY MARSHALL, 1934-2016

Garry Marshall, the American humorist whose sentimental, nostalgic and romantic TV and film works included Pretty Woman, Happy Days and Beaches, died Tuesday after a series of strokes. He was 81.

A television writer first, his work began in 1960s. He wrote for Lucille Ball’s The Lucy Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Love, American Style. He developed Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple for television and created Happy Days which birthed the spinoffs Mork & Mindy, Laverne & Shirley and Joanie Loves Chachi. From there he went into film and, as a director, delivered a strong of light-hearted, feel-good comedies, among them Young Doctors in Love, The Flamingo Kid and Overboard. With 1988’s Beaches and 1990’s Pretty Woman, he became box office gold.

Both of those movies spawned hit-laden soundtrack albums. Beaches gave us Bette Midler's signature song, "Wind Beneath My Wings," a #1 single and a Grammy winner for Record of the Year. Pretty Woman generated numerous hits, including Roxette's chart-topping "It Must Have Been Love."

Throughout his career, Marshall thrived in creating works that placed opposing personalities in a setting and watching them find commonality—the slob and the neatnik; the nerd and the cool guy; moneyed and sophisticated vs. street smart and poor; stubborn parent and insubordinate child.

“Garry Marshall was a wonderful man, hilarious, gifted in the ways of humanity and storytelling,” Tom Hanks tweeted. “He launched and nurtured more careers that he had shoes.”

Among the careers launched were those of Hanks, whom he paired with Jackie Gleason in 1986’s Nothing in Common, Robin Williams as Mork, Henry Winkler as the Fonz and Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries.  

A fan of theater, he ran the Falcon Theater in Burbank for years before handing over the reins to his  daughter Kathleen.

Late in life he directed opera, helming Offenbach’s The Grand Duchess for the LA Opera in 2005, and, in 2007, with Paul Williams, created a Happy Days musical.

 

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