It was a sad day for Hollywood as veteran filmmaker Garry Marshall, the man behind some of the best Hollywood romantic comedies like Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride and Valentine’s Day, died at the age of 81.
Reportedly, Marshall died from complications of pneumonia following a stroke at a hospital in Burbank, California, yesterday.
His sister, actress and director Penny Marshall, also confirmed the news.
Born in Bronx, Marshall graduated from Northwestern U’s Medill School of Journalism and began his career as a joke writer for comedians including Joey Bishop, then worked on the writing staff of ‘The Tonight Show With Jack Paar.’
He made his directorial debut in 1967 with the TV show ‘Hey, Landlord’ and went on to create some of the 1970s’ most iconic sitcoms including ‘Happy Days’ and ‘The Odd Couple’.
The first feature Marshall directed was the 1982 comedy ‘Young Doctors in Love’ but his first big screen blockbuster was 1990’s Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
The movie, revolving around a young prostitute and a bored millionaire, has become an enduring romantic classic.
The trio reunited in 1999 for box office hit Runaway Bride. The movie saw Roberts playing a woman who keeps dumping her prospective grooms at the altar and Gere a journalist in search of his next big story.
Marshall is credited for launching Anne Hathaway‘s career with ‘The Princess Diaries’ and its sequel.
The films saw global grosses of USD 165 million and USD 135 million, respectively. Marshall had recently talked about his plans to bring the third movie in the franchise.
His other major romantic movies are ‘New Year’s Eve’ and his last release this year ‘Mother’s Day’.
RIP Garry Marshall, you will be missed.