Happy Days creator and Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall dies aged 81

Happy Days star Henry Winkler has paid tribute to the show's creator, Garry Marshall, who has died aged 81.

Garry, 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.

Garry Marshall at a screening of Mother's Day
(Sylvain Gaboury/AP)

Henry shot to fame playing Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli in the family comedy and has said he owes Garry his career.

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

Director Ron Howard, who also starred in Happy Days as Richie Cunningham, also paid tribute.

Goldie Hawn starred opposite her partner Kurt Russell in Marshall's film Overboard.

She 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 had humanity, humour and goodness that lifted our spirits. God has you now. Rest dear one. We love you."

Ashton Kutcher, who starred in Marshall's films Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve, also paid tribute.

Topher Grace, who starred in Valentine's Day opposite Anne Hathaway, posted this sweet picture.

Garry, who was 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.

His first big-screen success came with Pretty Woman, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in 1990. The film was such a hit the pair reunited for Runaway Bride in 1999.

Garry Marshall, left, and Julia Roberts arrive at the premiere of Valentine's Day
Garry with Julia Roberts (Matt Sayles/AP)

He also made appearances on screen in colourful supporting roles such as a casino boss in Albert Brooks' film Lost In America.

The funeral service will be private, but a memorial is being planned for his birthday on November 13.

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