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Public memorial planned for director Garry Marshall

BURBANK — A public memorial service is being planned in November for film and television writer, director and actor Garry Marshall, who died July 19 at age 81.

Marshall died at a hospital in Burbank from complications of pneumonia following a stroke, according to Michelle Bega, a vice president with Rogers & Cowan.

Marshall created the hit 1970s ABC comedies “Happy Days,” “Laverne & Shirley” and “Mork & Mindy” and the original television version of “The Odd Couple,” which ran on ABC from 1970-75. He was the executive consultant for the CBS version, which premiered last year.

“Thank you for my professional life,” Henry Winker, who starred as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli on “Happy Days,” wrote on Twitter. “Thank you for your loyalty, friendship and generosity.”

Marshall directed 18 films, including “Pretty Woman,” “The Princess Diaries,” “Beaches” and “The Flamingo Kid.”

Marshall recently completed a rewrite of the book for the Broadway-bound musical version of “Pretty Woman.”

Marshall appeared in “A League of Their Own,” directed by his sister Penny, and had a recurring role on the 1990s CBS comedy “Murphy Brown.” He portrayed the father of Oscar Madison (Matthew Perry) in an episode of “The Odd Couple” which aired on April 28.

Richard Gere, who starred in “Pretty Woman” along with Julia Roberts, praised Marshall as “one of those truly important people one is blessed to meet in one’s lifetime.”

“Besides being the pulse and life force of ‘Pretty Woman’ … a steady helmsman on a ship that could have easily capsized … he was a super fine and decent man, husband and father who brought real joy and love and infectious good spirits to every thing and everyone he crossed paths with,” Gere said.

“Everyone loved Garry. He was a mentor and a cheerleader and one of the funniest men who ever lived. He had a heart of the purest gold and a soul full of mischief. He was Garry.”

Directors Guild of America President Paris Barclay called Marshall’s death “deeply sad, for our industry and for our guild.”

“Garry’s gift for storytelling brought joy, laughter and an enormous, beating heart to every screen, large and small,” Barclay said.

“When describing the type of stories he chose to tell, Garry once said, ‘I try to find scripts of stories that kinda celebrate the human condition … let’s talk about the tough world out there and the human spirit overcoming adversity. And that indefatigable optimism came through in everything he touched.”

Marshall served on the guild’s Western Directors Council from 2001 until his death and the National Board from 2007-2013.

“He channeled his love for the craft of directing into serving our guild — dedicating himself to protecting the creative rights of directors, as well as teaching newer generations of directors how hard-fought the DGA’s journey has been, and the importance of carrying it forward,” Barclay said.

“All the while, he kept us all smiling — no mean feat. It was an honor, and a delight, for all of us who had the pleasure of serving alongside of him.”

Marshal was born Nov. 13, 1934 in the Bronx, a borough of New York City. After graduating from Northwestern University, where he was a sports columnist for the Daily Northwestern, Marshall began his career as a joke writer for such comedians as Joey Bishop and Phil Foster.

Marshall became a writer for “The Tonight Show” when it was hosted by Jack Paar. Marshall moved to Hollywood in 1961 and wrote for “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Joey Bishop Show,” “The Danny Thomas Show” and “The Lucy Show.”

Marshall joined writing partner Jerry Belson in creating their first series, “Hey Landlord,” in 1966. It ran for one season on NBC.

Marshall received five Emmy nominations as a producer — four for “The Odd Couple” and one for “Mork & Mindy.”

Marshall also built the Falcon Theatre in Burbank.

In addition to his sister, Marshall is survived by his wife of 53 years, Barbara Sue Marshall; another sister, Ronny Hallin; three children, Kathleen, Lori and Scott Marshall; and six grandchildren.

Funeral services were private but a memorial is being planned for his birthday on Nov. 13.

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to The Saban Community Clinic, The Intensive Care Unit at Providence St. Joseph’s Medical Center, and Northwestern University Undergraduate Scholarship Fund.


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