Tributes paid to Happy Days writer Garry Marshall, dead at 81

Gary Marshall  was behind many classic US TV comedies. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
Gary Marshall was behind many classic US TV comedies. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
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Happy Days star Henry Winkler has paid tribute to the show’s creator, Garry Marshall, who has died aged 81.

Marshall, who also created Mork & Mindy starring Robin Williams and directed hit films including Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries, Beaches and Valentine’s Day, died of complications from pneumonia after a stroke.

Winkler shot to fame playing Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli in the family comedy and has said he owes Marshall his career.

He wrote on Twitter: “Garry Marshall Rest In Peace. Thank you for my professional life. Thank you for your loyalty, friendship and generosity.”

He added: “Larger than life, funnier than most, wise and the definition of friend.”

Marshall died in hospital in Burbank, California, on 19 July his publicist, Michelle Bega, said.

Director Ron Howard, who also starred in Happy Days as Richie Cunningham, said he missed Marshall already, writing: “He was a world-class boss and mentor whose creativity and leadership meant a ton to me.

“Garry’s mantra, to those who succeeded in entertainment was simple, ‘Life is more important than show business.’

“I miss Garry already. He leaves a huge void for all who were lucky to be in his orbit. A great friend.”

Goldie Hawn, who starred opposite her partner Kurt Russell in Marshall’s film Overboard, wrote: “Our beloved Gary Marshall has passed! He was so special to our family and we will miss his gift of true joy and love! Thank you Gary for Overboard and all the films you made that lifted our spirits.”

Ashton Kutcher, who starred in Marshall’s films Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, also paid tribute, saying: “I lost a friend and mentor. We lost a beautiful man and masterful storyteller. Gary Marshall I love you. I hope I get to go where you are.”

Marshall, a former journalist, first found success in 1970 when he and his writing partner turned the Broadway show The Odd Couple into a TV series.