Director, producer and writer Garry Marshall dead at 81: Media

garry-marshal-reuters (File) Director Garry Marshall arrives as a guest at the 19th Annual ELLE Women in Hollywood dinner in Beverly Hills, California | Reuters

Director, producer and writer Garry Marshall, who was responsible for creating sitcom hits such as The Odd Couple and Happy Days and directed hit movies Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries, died on Tuesday, Variety reported.

He was 81.

Marshall died at 5pm local time (0000 GMT) in Burbank, California, from complications of pneumonia after a stroke, his representative Michelle Bega told USA Today.

The Odd Couple, a hit sitcom created and produced by Marshall, began a five-year run on ABC in 1970. The show, starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, received Emmy nominations and wins for the comedy series based on Neil Simon's play about two divorced men with different lifestyles who are forced to share an apartment.

Marshall's Happy Days debuted as a television series on ABC in 1974, starting a 10-year run that saw Henry Winkler’s the Fonz become what Variety described as a cultural touchstone.

"Garry Marshall Rest In Peace. Thank you for my professional life. Thank you for your loyalty, friendship and generosity," Winkler said on Twitter.

Marshall was the older brother of Penny Marshall, who played the unrefined but lovable Laverne DeFazio on Laverne & Shirley, a Happy Days sequel he co-created that ran on the ABC network from 1976 to 1983. It followed the lives of two single women and their nutty friends in 1950s and '60s Milwaukee.

He also directed Pretty Woman, a big screen blockbuster in 1990 starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere that grossed $463 million worldwide. Roberts earned an Oscar nomination for best actress and the film was nominated for a Golden Globe for best comedy/musical.

The Princess Diaries, Beaches and The Flamingo Kid, were among other popular films Marshall had a hand in putting on the big screen.

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