Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images(BURBANK) — Garry Marshall, a writer, director and actor who created the classic sitcoms The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy, and directed the film Pretty Woman, has passed away. He was 81.
He died Tuesday from complications of pneumonia following a stroke at a hospital in Burbank, California, according to his rep. Funeral services will be private. A memorial is being planned for his birthday in November.
Marshall was born in the Bronx, New York, on November 13, 1934. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and worked as a reporter after graduation. In 1961, Marshall moved to Los Angeles, and worked as a writer on The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Joey Bishop Show and The Lucy Show.
Along with his friend, the late writer Jerry Belson, he adapted the Neil Simon play The Odd Couple for television. The show starred Jack Klugman and Tony Randall and ran for five seasons, becoming an iconic part of American television.
On his own, Marshall created the enormously successful series Happy Days, which premiered on ABC in 1974. The show ran for 11 seasons and made household names of cast members Henry Winkler, Ron Howard, Tom Bosley, Marion Ross, Pat Morita and Scott Baio.
The show was so successful it spawned several spin-offs, including Mork & Mindy, which made Robin Williams a superstar, and Laverne & Shirley, which featured his sister Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, David L. Lander and Michael McKean.
Marshall also brought his talents to the big screen as a director. Among his most famous films were the Goldie Hawn/Kurt Russell comedy Overboard; the Bette Midler/Barbara Hershey melodrama Beaches; and the enormously successful 1990 Julia Roberts/Richard Gere romantic comedy Pretty Woman.
Pretty Woman earned an Oscar nod for Roberts and, according to Box Office Mojo, grossed $463 million worldwide.
Marshall’s most recent film was this year’s Mother’s Day, starring Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Julia Roberts.
Marshall could also be found in front of the camera, notably in the movies Soapdish and A League of Their Own and in a recurring role on TV’s Murphy Brown as Candice Bergen’s boss, Stan Lansing.
Marshall earned five Primetime Emmy nominations during his career. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1997.
Marshall is survived by his wife, his two sisters, and three children, including director Scott Marshall.
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