Pretty Woman Director Garry Marshall Dies At 81

Photo: Michael Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock.
Garry Marshall, the director behind some of Hollywood's most beloved rom-coms, has died at the age of 81. According to Entertainment Weekly, Marshall passed away Tuesday night in a Burbank, CA, hospital from complications of pneumonia following a stroke. The Bronx-born Marshall started his career as a TV writer in the '60s for shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show and Lucille Ball's follow-up to I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show. He would later go on to create the classic '70s series The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Mork & Mindy. But for many, he's perhaps best known for his lighthearted directing work. Marshall directed 18 films, including Julia Roberts' first big movie, Pretty Woman, as well as The Princess Diaries, Beaches, Runaway Bride, Valentine's Day and, most recently, this year's Mother's Day, which found him teaming up with Roberts for the fourth time. When Pretty Woman was released in 1990, Marshall told The New York Times, “I like to do very romantic, sentimental type of work. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it." It's a conviction the director took to heart throughout his entire career. As he told EW earlier this year, “I believe in fairy tales, and I believe other people do too.” Marshall continued working until the end, recently finishing a rewrite of the book for a Broadway adaptation of Pretty Woman.

Those who collaborated with Marshall have started paying tribute to him on social media, including Sarah Silverman, who worked with him on her TV show The Sarah Silverman Project, and Goldie Hawn, who starred in Marshall's 1987 movie Overboard, alongside her longtime partner Kurt Russell. "Our family will miss him so much. His humor, his humanity, and his love," Hawn wrote on Instagram. "Thank you for Overboard. Thank you for being such a special human. Rest in peace, dear one."

Pretty Woman
star Richard Gere said in a statement, "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. 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." Mandy Moore thanked Marshall for casting her in her first role in The Princess Diaries, writing on Instagram, "Thank you for all the glorious means of laughing and crying and feeling whole and connected, Garry."

Jessica Alba, who appeared in 2010's Valentine's Day, seemed to say what everyone was thinking with her tribute: "Thank you for your comedic genius and I'm so grateful for all the films and tv shows that helped shaped my generation and generations to come."

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