Garry Marshall, the creator of beloved sitcoms and director of iconic movies alike, died Tuesday, Variety reports. The famed writer and director passed away in Burbank, California due to complications from pneumonia following a stroke. He was 81 years old.
Garry helped define TV in the 1970s by creating classic sitcoms like The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Mork & Mindy, and Laverne and Shirley, which starred his sister Penny Marshall, who would go on to also have a successful career as a film director. He eventually brought his knack for hilarious and heartwarming storytelling to the big screen, directing such hit movies as Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, and The Princess Diaries. His most recent string of films featured huge, star-studded ensemble casts whose narratives centered on holidays, including 2010's Valentine's Day, 2011's New Year's Eve, and his last film, Mother's Day, was released in April.
Pretty Woman star Richard Gere issued a statement to Variety late Tuesday. “Garry of course was one of those truly important people one is blessed to meet in one’s lifetime. Besides being the pulse and life force of ‘Pretty Woman’… a steady helmsman on a ship that could have easily capsized… he was a super fine and decent man, husband and father who brought real joy and love and infectious good spirits to every thing and everyone he crossed paths with," he said. "Everyone loved Garry. He was a mentor and a cheerleader and one of the funniest men who ever lived. He had a heart of the purest gold and a soul full of mischief. He was Garry.”
The loss of this Hollywood legend has inspired many heartfelt tributes from celebrities who worked with Garry and those who simply admired his work.
A memorial for Garry is being planned for his birthday on November 13, according to Variety.