A year that’s already claimed too many big names has added one more.
Iconic director, writer, and actor Garry Marshall has passed away, at 81. He died Tuesday evening in Burbank, CA, from complications of pneumonia following a stroke.
Marshall began his career writing for The Tonight Show with Jack Paar and The Dick Van Dyke Show. In very short time, he ruled the TV comedy landscape, adapting The Odd Couple for television before creating Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Mork & Mindy.
Once he’d conquered the small screen, Marshall directed a series of popular movies in the late ’80s, including Overboard, Beaches, and Pretty Woman — the biggest hit of his career and the movie that launched Julia Roberts to stardom.
Not content to be part of just one generation’s film, Marshall skewed even younger in the early 2000s with The Princess Diaries and its sequel, doing for Anne Hathaway from Pretty Woman did for Roberts a decade earlier.
In recent years, Marshall was inspired by the interconnected romance of Love, Actually to direct a the trilogy of holiday-themed comedies: Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Mother’s Day.
Not content to stay behind the camera, Marshall was also a famous face (with an often-impersonated voice) in front of it, memorably appearing in A League of Their Own, Murphy Brown, Never Been Kissed, The Simpsons, Chicken Little, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He last appeared in an episode of the new version of The Odd Couple, three months ago.
Marshall is survived by his wife of 53 years, Barbara Marshall, three children, and sisters Penny Marshall and Ronny Harlin.