Garry Marshall was an American film director, film producer, screenwriter, and actor who is best known for creating Happy Days. And its various spin-offs, developing Neil Simon’s 1965 play The Odd Couple for television, and directing Pretty Woman, Beaches, Runaway Bride, Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Mother’s Day, The Princess Diaries, and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.
Garry Kent Marshall was born in The Bronx, New York, on November 13, 1934, the son of Anthony Wallace Marshall (né Masciarelli; 1906–1999), a director of industrial films and later a producer, and Marjorie Irene (née Ward; 1908–1983), a tap dance teacher who ran a tap dance school. Moreover, he was the brother of actress/director Penny Marshall and Ronny Marshall Hallin, a television producer. His father was of Italian descent, his family having come from San Martino sulla Marrucina, Chieti, Abruzzo, and his mother was of German, English, and Scottish ancestry. His father changed his last name from Masciarelli to Marshall before his son Garry was born. Garry Marshall was baptized Presbyterian and also raised Lutheran for a time.
Marshall began his career as a joke writer for such comedians as Joey Bishop and Phil Foster and became a writer for The Tonight Show with Jack Paar. He originally partnered with writer Fred Freeman. Later, in 1961, both he and Freeman moved to Hollywood, where they broke into writing sitcoms on The Joey Bishop Show. Freeman, however, found that he didn’t enjoy sitcom work, and moved back to New York. Marshall soon teamed up with new writing partner Jerry Belson, and the two worked as a team through the 1960s. The pair worked on The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Joey Bishop Show, The Danny Thomas Show, and The Lucy Show.
Their first television series as creator-producers was Hey, Landlord, which lasted one season (since 1966–67). Then they adapted Neil Simon’s play The Odd Couple for television. Moving into the 1970s, Marshall worked on his own or with others, and created Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley (starring his sister Penny), and Mork & Mindy, which were produced by his associates Thomas L. Miller, Robert L. Boyett, and Edward K. Milkis. He was also a co-creator of Makin’ It, which the three men also produced. Moreover, Marshall tied a knot Barbra Wells on March 9, 1963. Together they have three children, including Scott Marshall.
On the morning of July 19, 2016, Marshall, aged 81, died at a hospital in Burbank, California, due to complications of pneumonia after suffering a stroke. Likewise, Henry Winkler paid tribute to Marshall on Barry in 2019. And SAG-AFTRA made a Memoriam Tribute to Marshall on the SAG Awards in 2019. Also, Julia Roberts paid tribute to Marshall on Pretty Woman: The Musical, in 2018.
- Full Name: Garry Kent Marshall
- Date of Birth: November 13, 1934
- Birth Place: The Bronx, New York, United States
- Date of Death: July 19, 2016
- Death Place: Burbank, California, United States
- Spouse: Barbara Marshall (m since 1963–2016)
- Children: Kathleen Marshall, Scott Marshall, Lori Marshall
- Siblings: Penny Marshall, Ronny Hallin
- Resting place: Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills
- Education: De Witt Clinton High School
- Alma mater: Northwestern University
- Occupation: Film director, film producer, screenwriter, actor
- Years active: since 1959–2016
- Relatives: Penny Marshall (sister)
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