The sitcom and romantic comedy mastermind, Garry Marshall, has passed away at the age of 81. His long and prolific career began in 1961, when he became a writer for The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Lucy Show. He truly began to leave his mark on the industry during the ’70s when he created major hits, Happy Days, Mork & Mindy, The Odd Couple, and Laverne & Shirley. Later, he would go on to perfect the romantic comedy movie genre with Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, The Princess Diaries, and many more.
Those that knew him — either from collaborating in the industry or from decades of following his work as a fan — have taken to social media to express their grief at his passing, and support for his family:
Ron Howard, Actor/Director (Richie Cunningham, Happy Days)
Mandy Moore, Actor/Singer (The Princess Diaries)
Paul Feig, Director/Producer
John Stamos, Actor
Ben Sherwood, President of Disney-ABC Television Group
Garry Marshall’s Greatest Moments In TV And Film
With a career that spanned six decades, it’s practically impossible to select just a handful of moments that highlight everything that was great about Garry Marshall. Nevertheless, in honor of the passing of this beloved mentor and artist, here’s a brief round-up of some greatest moments in Marshall’s long portfolio. Enjoy, and don’t forget to add your own favorite Garry Marshall moments in the comments!
The Dick Van Dyke Show (1964-1966), Writer
I Love Lucy might have kick-started the American sitcom genre in the ’50s, but The Dick Van Dyke Show helped keep it rolling. Dick Van Dyke played the all-American dad Rob Petrie, who was himself a writer on a comedy show within the show. The series launched Mary Tyler Moore’s career, and despite only lasting two seasons, many of the jokes and physical comedy remain timeless and hilarious today.
Happy Days (1974-1984), Creator
Arguably the most iconic show of the ’70s, Happy Days defined a generation. Throw the lens of 1950s America, Marshall somehow managed to make his show even more relevant to his contemporary audiences. Plus, he gave us some of the most epic moments in TV history, like this now incredibly famous scene in pop culture history:
Mork & Mindy (1978-1982), Writer, Director
The character of Mork (Robin Williams) appeared in two separate episodes of Happy Days toward the very beginning of Robin Williams’s career. Before Happy Days was even off the air, Marshall realized the tremendous potential of Williams to carry his own series, and decided to cast him in his own series, Mork & Mindy. While not quite as long-running as Happy Days, the show did enjoy tremendous success and a devoted fan following.
Pretty Woman (1990), Director
Like Robin Williams, Julia Roberts had been in the business for years, but it wasn’t until Garry Marshall put her in a leading role that her career truly exploded. Despite being over 20 years old, Pretty Woman remains one of the greatest romantic comedies ever, and will likely hold that crown for decades to come.
The Princess Diaries (2001), Director
Did you notice how many actors from Pretty Woman showed up again, ten years later, in The Princess Diaries? You can thank Garry Marshall for that. Hector Elizondo, Larry Miller, Allan Kent, Patrick Richwood and Kathleen Marshall all agreed to get back together under Marshall’s direction in the film that would launch Anne Hathaway’s career.
Raising Helen (2004), Director
By 2004, Garry Marshall had already proved himself as the master of wholesome, family-oriented romantic comedy, and Raising Helen was perhaps the epitome of that in film form. Starring Kate Hudson and John Corbett, the film followed the story of three children (Hayden Panettiere, Spencer Breslin, Abigail Breslin) after the death of their parents, when they’re left in the custody of their fun, kind of irresponsible Aunt Helen (Kate Hudson).
Mother’s Day (2016), Director
Perhaps even moreso than his other films, Mother’s Day was a testament to just how strong Garry Marshall’s working relationships were, and the sense of loyalty he was able to foster among his teams of actors. Mother’s Day starred returning Marshall favorites Julia Roberts and Kate Hudson, and also featured Larry Miller, Jennifer Garner, Hector Elizondo, and many others.
What was your favorite moment from Garry Marshall’s career?