Visionary TV actor, producer, director Garry Marshall dead at 81

The world will be a little less funny now, since Garry Marshall, 81, actor, but also, noted visionary director, writer and producer passed away from complications due to pneumonia after a stroke on July 19, 2016.

Jessica Biel, Gary Marshall
Jessica Biel talks with director Gary MarshallCredit: Karl/Tony/

Garry Marshall’s (November 13, 1934 – July 19, 2016) credits are impressive.  He directed 18 movies and developed and created more than 12 individual TV series, but that’s not all.

He turned Julia Roberts into a Pretty Woman and a Runaway Bride, kept Goldie Hawn from sinking Overboard and transformed Anne Hathaway into the star of Princess Diaries. He was among the first to discover the genius that was Robin Williams, his star of Happy Days' spin off Mork and Mindy.  Not to mention always finding interesting roles for his family and friends including his sister, Penny Marshall, and Hector Elizondo, who appeared in every film Marshall directed.

This New Yorker was born and raised in the Bronx to a family with the entertainment gene. His dad was of Italian descent, but changed the family name prior to Garry’s birth. He began his career as a joke writer and worked on The Tonight Show with Jack Parr. He worked on other TV projects, and adapted Neil Simon's play The Odd Couple for TV. Then came his own reign of success which also included Laverne and Shirley and many other endeavors.

The Flamingo Kid starring Matt Dillon proved to be a success for him as a writer and director in 1984. And Beaches with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey which came on the scene in 1988.

He liked to wear many hats, and could be seen acting through his long career in projects such as The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, his sister’s film A League of their Own and even lent his voice to a couple episodes of The Simpsons.

He earned many honors and awards throughout his career including being inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1997, and National Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2012. He has star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

Known for his devotion to his family, he is survived by many people who loved him including his wife, Barbara and their children Kathleen, Lori and Scott, as well as six grandchildren.


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Michelle Tompkins

Michelle Tompkins is an award-winning media, PR and crisis communications professional with more than ten years experience with coverage in virtually every traditional and new media outlet. She is currently a communications and media strategist and writer, as well as the author of College Prowler: Guidebook for Columbia University. She served as the Media Relations Manager for the Girl Scouts of the USA where she managed all media and talking points, created social media strategy, trained executives and donors and served as the organization’s primary spokesperson, participating in daily interviews with local, regional, and national media outlets. She managed the media for the Let Me Know internet safety and Cyberbullying prevention campaign with Microsoft, as well as Girl Scouts’ centennial Year of the Girl To Get Her There celebration in 2012, which yielded more than 800 million earned media impressions. In addition to her extensive media experience, Michelle worked as a talent agent in Los Angeles, California, as well contracting as a digital content developer and her writing has appeared in newspapers and online. She is passionate about television, theater, classic movies, all things food and in-home entertaining. While she has lived and worked in NYC for more than a decade, she is from suburban Sacramento and gets back there often to watch the San Francisco Giants on TV with her family.

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