|Stats: 286 members, 6,382 topics. Date: March 23, 2017, 7:03 pm|
Garry Marshall, the director of Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride, has died at the age of 81. The former journalist, whose early hits included TV shows Happy Days, Mork and Mindy and Laverne & Shirley, died in hospital in Burbank, California, of complications from pneumonia after a stroke. Hearing the news, Henry Winkler, who starred as Fonzie in Happy Days, tweeted that Marshall was "larger than life, funnier than most, wise and the definition of friend". Marshall began his entertainment career in the 1960s, selling jokes to comedians and writing sketches for a number of shows, including The Lucy Show and The dick Van dyke Show. His first show of his own came in 1970 when he and his then writing partner Jerry Belson turned Neil Simon's Broadway hit The Odd Couple into a sitcom starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. The show ran for five seasons and was the start of a stellar TV career for Marshall who, in 1979, had three of the top five comedies on air. The seasoned writer then turned to films, starting off in 1984 with The Flamingo Kid which he wrote and directed, and starring Matt Dillon in a coming-of-age story. He later moved over to directing full time and drew in big names for his films, including Tom Hanks in Nothing In Common (1986), Overboard starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell (1987) and Beaches with Bette Midler (1988). He reached another stage of stardom with Pretty Woman, a smash hit starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in 1990. The trio were reunited nine years later for another huge success, Runaway Bride. The director also did the occasional spot of acting himself, using his New York accent and gruff delivery in colourful supporting roles that included a casino boss in Lost in America and a crass network executive in Soapdish. He once said: "In the neighbourhood where we grew up in, the Bronx, you only had a few choices. You were either an athlete or a gangster, or you were funny." He leaves a wife, Barbara, and three adult children.
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