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Famed Director, Producer and Writer Garry Marshall (BSJ56) dies at 81

Marshall, a member of Medill’s Hall of Achievement, is the creator and producer of numerous television shows including “Happy Days,” “Laverne and Shirley,” “The Odd Couple” and “Mork and Mindy.”

July 20, 2016

Medill alumnus and famed producer, director and writer Garry K. Marshall (BSJ56) died July 19 from complications of pneumonia following a stroke. He was 81. Marshall, a member of Medill’s Hall of Achievement, was the creator and producer of numerous television shows including “Happy Days,”  “Laverne and Shirley,”  “The Odd Couple” and “Mork and Mindy.”  He directed 18 films in his career, including “Overboard,” “Beaches,” “Pretty Woman,” “Valentine’s Day,” “New Year’s Day,” and “Mother’s Day.”

Marshall was also an actor, including making cameos in his own films. He had a recurring role on “Murphy Brown” as the head of the network and guested on shows such as “Monk” and “The Sarah Silverman Show.” He played a part in his sister Penny’s “A League of Their Own” as a baseball team owner. He also appeared in his son Scott Marshall’s 2006 comedy “Keeping Up With the Steins.”

In 1997 Marshall was inducted into the Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame. Additional career accolades include the American Comedy Awards’ Creative Achievement Award in 1990, the Writers Guild of America’s Valentine Davies Award in 1995, and the American Cinema Editors’ Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award in 2004. In 2012, he was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters’ Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Marshall earned five Emmy nominations over the course of his career: four for “The Odd Couple” and one for “Mork & Mindy” and has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

Marshall’s memoir “Wake Me When It’s Funny,” co-written with his daughter Lori (BSJ86, MSJ88) and published in 1995, recounted his first 35 years in Hollywood. He wrote an additional memoir, “My Happy Days in Hollywood,” in 2012.

“The loss today of Garry Marshall is deeply sad – for our industry, and for our Guild,” Directors Guild of America president Paris Barclay said in a statement July 19 that was published online. “Garry’s gift for storytelling brought joy, laughter and an enormous, beating heart to every screen, large and small. 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 was born in The Bronx, New York. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Barbara, two sisters, Ronny and Penny three children Lori, Kathleen and Scott (all Northwestern graduates) and six grandchildren.