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"Happy Days" Creator Garry Marshall dies at 82

Credits included Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve, Mother's Day, The Princess Diaries, and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.

 

Gary Marshall, Happy Days creator, also created TV shows such as Makin It, and directing Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve, Mother's Day, The Princess Diaries, and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.

He was responsible for most of the situation comedies on prime time U.S. television during ten years in the late 70's and 80's. He was one of the most important men in Hollywood. Yet Happy Days star Ron Howard says he told people "show business is not life," and that "while it's nice to be important, it's more important to be nice."

Garry Marshall was born Garry Kent Masciarelli 82 years ago. He was an American actor, director, producer, writer, voice artist, and comedian. His notable credits included creating Happy Days and its various spin-offs, developing Neil Simon's 1965 play The Odd Couple for television, and directing Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve, Mother's Day, The Princess Diaries, and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

Marshall began his career as a joke writer for such comedians as Joey Bishop and Phil Foster and then became a writer for The Tonight Show with Jack Paar.

In 1961, he moved to Hollywood, where he teamed up with Jerry Belson as a writer for television. The pair worked on The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Joey Bishop Show, The Danny Thomas Show, and The Lucy Show. The first television series which they created and produced was Hey, Landlord, which lasted one season (1966–67). Then they adapted Neil Simon's play The Odd Couple for television. On his own, Marshall created Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley (starring his sister Penny), and Mork & Mindy, which were produced by his associates Thomas L. Miller, Robert L. Boyett, and Edward K. Milkis.

He was also a co-creator of Makin' It, which the three men also produced.

In the early 1980s, he met Hector Elizondo while playing basketball and they became great friends. Elizondo appears in every film that Marshall directed, beginning with Marshall's first feature film Young Doctors in Love. Elizondo once noted that he is written into all of Marshall's contracts whether he wanted to do the movie or not.[15] In the opening credits of Exit to Eden (their eighth film together), Elizondo is credited "As Usual ... Hector Elizondo".[16] In 1984, Marshall had a film hit as the writer and director of The Flamingo Kid.

A consummate producer, Marshall wore many hats during this period of his career: Most of his hit television series were created and executive produced by him. His first producing assignment came with Hey, Landlord in 1966. He stepped up the very next year, producing The Lucy Show.

Then came successes in producing The Odd Couple, Laverne and Shirley, Blansky's Beauties, Mork & Mindy, Angie, and Happy Days. Marshall also launched independent productions through his theater (The Falcon in Toluca Lake) and in association with productions launched with talent he was grooming and working with for years. One such project titled Four Stars was directed by Lynda Goodfriend (who portrayed Lori Beth in Happy Days), and was based on a play Goodfriend had read when she was studying at the Lee Strasberg Center, which had been written by John Schulte and Kevin Mahoney.

It starred Julie Paris (the daughter of Happy Days director and Dick Van Dyke Show co-star Jerry Paris) and Bert Kramer. Marshall went on to focus on directing feature films, with a series of hits, such as Beaches, Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries, Valentine's Day, and New Year's Eve.

Gary Marshall, Happy Days creator, also created TV shows such as Makin It, and directing Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve, Mother's Day, The Princess Diaries, and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.

Marshall was also an actor, making his television acting debut starting as a child with a recurring role in The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (1950–58),[20] appearing in Murphy Brown and in such films as Soapdish, On the Lot, and provided a guest-starring voice for The Simpsons episodes "Eight Misbehavin'" and "Homer the Father". He also appeared in two episodes of Happy Days as a drummer.

His theater credits included Wrong Turn at Lungfish, which he wrote in collaboration with Lowell Ganz, The Roast with Jerry Belson, Shelves and Happy Days: A New Musical with Paul Williams, which had its premiere at the Falcon Theater in Burbank, California, February 24, 2006. He portrayed the role of "director" on Burbank's "Lights...camera...action!" float in the 2014 Rose Parade.

On July 19, 2016, Garry Marshall died at a hospital in Burbank, California, at the age of 81 from complications of pneumonia after suffering a stroke. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Barbara, a son and two daughters along with six grandchildren and his two sisters.

 

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