Garry Marshall, ‘Happy Days’ creator and ‘Pretty Woman’ director dies at 81

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10:  Actor Garry Marshall presents the Timeless Icon Award onstage during the 2016 TV Land Icon Awards at The Barker Hanger on April 10, 2016 in Santa Monica, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for TV Land)
'Happy Days' creator Garry Marshall dies
01:04 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

The producer and director had recently had a stroke

Marshall created some of the most popular 1970's TV shows

He helped launch the career of many actors

CNN  — 

Famed director and producer Garry Marshall has died. He was 81 years old.

Marshall, who created some of the most popular 1970’s TV shows – including “Mork and Mindy” and “Happy Days,” and directed hit films like “Pretty Woman” and “The Princess Diaries” – died Tuesday in a Burbank hospital, his publicist Michelle Bega confirmed.

Marshall passed away from complications of pneumonia following a stroke at a hospital, Bega said in a statement Tuesday.

The Hollywood legend directed, produced and starred in films and TV shows since the late 1950’s.

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He directed 18 films, including big screen hits like “Beaches,” “Overboard,” “Runaway Bride,” “Valentine’s Day” and 1990’s “Pretty Woman,” which made a star of Julia Roberts and gave Richard Gere his first hit in years.

He just finished a rewrite for a Broadway-bound musical version of “Pretty Woman,” Bega said.

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In 1970, Marshall created a television adaptation of Neil Simon’s play “The Odd Couple” for ABC. The successful sit-com drew several Emmy nominations over the course of its five seasons. Television hits followed soon after. “Happy Days” became the number one rated television show in 1977 and launched an American cultural icon: the Fonz.

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After “Happy Days,” Marshall created spin-off shows “Laverne & Shirley,” starring his sister Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, and “Mork & Mindy,” which jump started Robin Williams’ extensive career.

Marshall was born in The Bronx, New York, and graduated from Northwestern University. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, nurse Barbara Sue Marshall, and leaves behind his two sisters, three children, and six grandchildren.

“He loved telling stories, making people laugh, and playing softball, winning numerous championships. Even at age 81, he had a record this year of 6 - 1 pitching for his team,” Bega said.

Several stars posted tributes to the famed director and producer on social media, thanking him for his many contributions to their craft.

CNN’s Topher Gauk-Roger and Alex Hunter contributed to this report.