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'Pretty Woman' director Garry Marshall dies, aged 81

July 20, 2016

He was best known for creating the television hit "Happy Days" and directing the film "Pretty Woman," starring Julia Roberts. Garry Marshall has passed away in a California hospital.

Garry Marshall, Copyright: Getty Images/Ch. Gallay
Image: Getty Images/J. Scarnici

Garry Marshall, 81, was in the hospital in Burbank, California after suffering a stroke and died Tuesday of complications from a lung infection.

Marshall "brought joy, laughter and an enormous, beating heart to every screen, large and small," Directors Guild of America president Paris Barclay said of the filmmaker. "It was an honor and a delight, for all of us who had the pleasure of serving alongside him."

Born in New York in 1934, Marshall grew up in a family that was close to the arts: His mother was a dance teacher and his father a film director.

His TV breakthrough came with the 1970s series "The Odd Couple," based on a play by Neil Simon. The sitcom "Happy Days" and "Mork and Mindy" starring Robin Williams followed.

In 1990, Marshall launched Julia Roberts to global fame in "Pretty Woman," which would arguably remain his most memorable film. Focusing on romantic comedies, he also directed hits like "Runaway Bride" (1999) and "The Princess Diaries" (2001), the latter starring a young Anne Hathaway.

Marshall also made acting appearances himself, such as in the 1992 baseball comedy-drama "A League of Their Own."

His last film, "Mother's Day," was released this year in April, with Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and other stars in the lead roles.

While it was slammed by critics, Marshall pointed out to The New York Times, "I got killed on the last one, but it made $146 million worldwide."

kbm/kms (dpa, AFP)