‘Pretty Woman’ Director Garry Marshall Dies at 81

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Gary Marshall, the successful writer, producer and director whose credits include Happy Days, Beaches, The Princess Diaries and Pretty Woman, has passed away.

Marshall’s publicist, Michelle Bega, confirmed Marshall’s passing, reporting that he had died as a result of the pneumonia that followed a stroke.

Marshall leaves behind a career that is as wide reaching as it is impressive. He penned the pilot episode of Happy Days, which became the number one show on American television during its ’76-’77 season. He was also a strong force behind The Lucy Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show, both of which had very successful runs.

It was Marshall’s feature career that really catapulted him to another league. He directed a run of moderately received films in the 80s, including The Flamingo Kid, Overboard, and the critically disliked but nevertheless successful tear-jerker Beaches. But it was Pretty Woman, released in 1990, that really got him noticed. The feature pushed Julia Roberts into the spotlight, and kicked off a friendship that would see them work together two more times over the years, in Runaway Bride (1999) and Mother’s Day, which opened earlier this year.

Apart from paving the way for Roberts’ career, it can be said that Marshall also gave Oscar winner Anne Hathaway her big break. He directed Hathaway in 2001’s The Princess Diaries, a successful Disney outing co-starring Julie Andrews.

Our thoughts go out to Marshall’s family and friends.

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