Garry Marshall: Happy Days creator dies aged 81

Garry Marshall, creator of hit US TV series Happy Days and the director of box-office hit Pretty Woman, has died aged 81, his publicist says.

Marshall died on Tuesday at a hospital in Burbank, California, of complications from pneumonia following a stroke, Michelle Bega said.

The prolific director, producer and writer also wrote sitcoms The Odd Couple and Mork and Mindy.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and their three children.

Born in New York, Marshall studied journalism at university and began his entertainment career writing jokes for other actors.

He soon progressed to writing scripts for a series of hit TV shows and caught the eye of comedian Joey Bishop, who took him to Los Angeles to write for The Joey Bishop Show.

Marshall went on to turn out scripts for some of the most popular TV comedies of the 1960s including The Lucy Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show.

In the 1970s, Marshall created Happy Days; Laverne & Shirley – which starred his sister Penny Marshall – and Mork and Mindy which starred then newcomer Robin Williams.

Marshall switched to the big screen in the 1980s and directed blockbusters such as Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride.

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