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Legendary Hollywood actor, director, writer and producer Garry Marshall, who created sitcoms like “The Odd Couple,” “Happy Days,” “Laverne & Shirley” and “Mork & Mindy,” and directed theatricals “Pretty Woman” and “The Princess Brides,” among many others, died Tuesday from complications of pneumonia following a stroke at a hospital in Burbank, California. He was 81.
Born November 13, 1934 in the Bronx, Marshall, the brother of actress-director Penny Marshall, earned a degree in journalism from Northwestern University and worked at the New York Daily News. He segued into showbiz in the late 1950s as a joke writer, eventually earning his way to becoming a writer on “The Tonight Show with Jack Paar.” In 1961 he moved to Hollywood, where he teamed up with Jerry Belson as a writer for television. The two worked on “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Joey Bishop Show,” “The Danny Thomas Show” and “The Lucy Show,” and they created their first sitcom, “Hey Landlord,” in the 1966-67 season. Their first hit was “The Odd Couple” in 1970, which aired for five seasons and was based on the Neil Simon play and movie of the same name.
Marshall also wrote for or executive produced sitcoms like “Me and the Chimp,” “The Brian Keith Show,” “Blansky’s Beauties,” “Who’s Watching the Kids?,” “The New Odd Couple,” “Makin’ It,” “Angie” and “Joanie Loves Chachi.” Most recently, he was a consultant on the current second revival of “The Odd Couple.”
Marshall was also a child actor, with a recurring role on comedy “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show.” And his appearances on camera over the years included two episodes of “Happy Days,” “Murphy Brown” and “Two and a Half Men,” and movie “Soapdish.” He also was a guest voice on “The Simpsons,” and his theater credits include “Wrong Turn at Lungfish,” “The Roast” and “Happy Days: A New Musical.”
Henry Winkler, who starred on “Happy Days,” saluted Marshall in a tweet as “larger than life, funnier than most, wise and the definition of friend.”
Marshall is survived by his wife, Barbara, and the couple’s three children, Lori, Kathleen and Scott. Funeral services will be private but a memorial is being planned for his birthday on Nov. 13, his publicist’s statement said.