What an impressive career Garry Marshall had!
The man who was responsible for so many classic sitcoms and movies died at the age of 81 on July 19, due to complications from pneumonia, seamlessly went from writing to acting to producing and directing. He valued teamwork and loyalty and went out of his way to inspire his teams and their fans to enjoy time both in front of and behind the camera. During the heyday of Happy Days, he encouraged the creation of an intramural softball team to be played by cast and crew in front of audiences of family, friends and fans.
As a writer, he contributed to the Tonight Show with Jack Parr, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Joey Bishop Show and The Lucy Show before moving on and up as the creative and producing force behind several hit shows—especially his adaptation of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple to television and still running in syndication 1970s and 1980s favorites: the before mentioned Happy Days as well as Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy.
His motion picture directing career began with The Flamingo Kid in 1984. And the hits, and the not-so-much-hits kept coming over the years. He directed Pretty Woman, Beaches, Runaway Bride, Exit to Eden, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and the The Princess Diaries.
All the while, he still tried new things and continued to act until the end.
Hollywood came out in droves to remember their esteemed colleague, friend and often mentor and his legacy even contains the industry term “jump the shark,” which means the point when a good show turns bad as it came from when Happy Days’ leading man, “The Fonz” actually tried to jump a shark.
Here are 10 invaluable contributions Garry Marshall made to television and film.