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Garry Marshall, creator of ‘Happy Days,’ dead at 81

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LOS ANGELES — Famed director and producer Garry Marshall has died. He was 81 years old.

Marshall, who created some of the most popular 1970’s TV shows — including “Mork and Mindy” and “Happy Days,” and directed hit films like “Pretty Woman” and”The Princess Diaries” — died Tuesday in a Burbank hospital, his publicist Michelle Bega confirmed.

Marshall passed away from complications of pneumonia following a stroke at a hospital, Bega said.

Marshall directed, produced and starred in films and TV shows since the late 1950’s. His first big screen hit was 1990’s “Pretty Woman,” which made a star of Julia Roberts in the iconic role as a hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold, and gave Richard Gere his first hit in years.

In 1970, Marshall created a television adaptation of Neil Simon’s play “The Odd Couple” for ABC. The successful sit-com drew several Emmy nominations over the course of its five seasons. His television hits followed thereafter — with “Happy Days” reaching number one in television in 1977 and creating an American cultural icon: the Fonz.

After “Happy Days,” Marshall created spin-off shows “Laverne and Shirley,” starring his sister Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, and “Mork and Mindy,” which jump started Robin Williams’ extensive career.

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