Tributes have started pouring in following the news of the death of director Garry Marshall at the age of 81.
Marshall’s deft touch with comedy and romance led to a string of TV hits that included Happy Daysand Laverne & Shirleyand the box-office successes Pretty Womanand Runaway Bride.
He died on Tuesday in a hospital in Burbank, California, of complications from pneumonia after having a stroke, his publicist Michelle Bega said in a statement.
The director began his entertainment career in the 1960s selling jokes to comedians and then moved on to writing for TV shows like Happy Days and Mork and Mindy, starring then newcomer RobinWilliams.
Marshall’s Happy Daysdebuted as a television series on ABC in 1974, starting a 10-year run that saw Henry Winkler’s “the Fonz” become what Variety described as a cultural touchstone.
After cranking out what Marshall once estimated to be 1,000 sitcom episodes, he switched his focus to the big screen with 1984’s “The Flamingo Kid,” a coming-of-age story starring Matt Dillon, which Marshall wrote and directed.
Amonghis later films arePretty Woman and Runaway Bridewith Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
The Princess Diaries, starring Julie Andrews and ateenage Anne Hathaway,in 2001 was another winner. In March the director said he was planning a second sequel. Marshall and his wife, Barbara, had three children, Lori, Kathleen and Scott.