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Sitcom, film director Garry Marshall dies

Career included 'Happy Days', 'Pretty Woman'

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(Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Garry Marshall, who created sitcoms including “Happy Days,” “The Odd Couple,” “Laverne and Shirley” and “Mork and Mindy” and went on to direct hit movies including “Pretty Woman” and “The Princess Diaries,” died Tuesday of complications from pneumonia. He was 81.

He was born Garry Kent Maschiarelli in the Bronx. He graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and began his career as a joke writer for comedians including Joey Bishop, then worked on the writing staff of “The Tonight Show With Jack Paar.”

Marshall developed and produced an adaptation of Neil Simon’s play “The Odd Couple” in 1970 for ABC. He penned the 1971 pilot for “Happy Days,” which was recycled in 1972 as a segment of ABC’s comedy anthology series “Love, American Style.” “Happy Days” debuted as a series on the network in 1974 and spawned “Laverne and Shirley” and “Mork and Mindy.”

His first big screen blockbuster was 1990’s “Pretty Woman,” starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. He also helmed “Beaches” (1988), “Runaway Bride” (1999), and “The Princess Diaries” and its sequel which made a star of Anne Hathaway.

Marshall received the American Comedy Awards’ Creative Achievement Award in 1990, the Writers Guild of America’s Valentine Davies Award in 1995, the PGA’s Honorary Lifetime Membership Award and Lifetime Achievement Award in Television in 1998 and the American Cinema Editors’ Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award in 2004. In 1997 he was inducted into the Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame, according to Variety.

Marshall is survived by his wife, Barbara, children Scott, Lori and Kathleen, many grandchildren and sisters Penny Marshall and Ronny Hallin.