ENTERTAINMENT

From 'Happy Days' To 'Louie,' 8 Of The Best Garry Marshall Scenes

Commemorate the famed director, who died Tuesday.

21/07/2016 1:05 AM AEST | Updated July 21, 2016 05:33
ABC Photo Archives via Getty Images

Garry Marshall is not often mentioned in the same breath as Hollywood’s most revered auteurs, but his legacy is just as impactful. His key contribution to popular culture: making people happy. That’s a talent that requires skill.

With a keen eye for casting and a comedian’s mind for pacing, Marshall ― who died Tuesday at age 81 ― is responsible for some of our most beloved fixtures. He wrote for “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Lucy Show,” created “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley,” and directed “Beaches,” “Pretty Woman,” “Runaway Bride,” “The Princess Diaries,” “Georgia Rule” and the gaudy ensembles “Valentine’s Day,” “New Year’s Eve” and “Mother’s Day.” His work is the feel-good fare that divides critics but wins audiences effortlessly. Never inundated by Hollywood’s sequel culture, Marshall could also claim to be one of the few remaining directors whose signature was original, star-driven studio comedies. The stories he told were, simply put, kindhearted. That alone is worth celebrating, even if the quality of his output waned in the final decade of his career.

With ample options, we are spotlighting a handful of scenes directed by or starring Marshall that exemplify his big- and small-screen contributions. Thanks for making us happy, Garry Marshall. 

  • Richie is afraid of ghosts on "Happy Days" (1974)
    YouTube
    Having created "Happy Days" -- a show that inspired the phrase "jumping the shark," led to spinoffs "Laverne & Shirley" and "Mork & Mindy," and gave us the Fonz -- is enough for a lifetime of applause. For Marshall, it was only the beginning. He is credited on two episodes: co-writing the pilot and directing "Haunted," a Season 2 episode in which Richie Cunningham is petrified of his own Halloween party, held at an old home with rumored ghost activity. Today, haunted houses are a sitcom tradition. Then, it was a way for Marshall to enact his blueprint: It puts all of Richie's friends in the same room and gives them antics to play around with, creating a warm, if irresistibly cheesy, vignette.
  • Laverne rings the monastery bells on "Laverne & Shirley" (1983)
    YouTube
    The Garry Marshall TV Universe expanded through the backdrop of "Happy Days," which introduced Laverne DeFazio (Marshall's sister, Penny) and Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams) as friends of The Fonz. ("Mork & Mindy," "Joanie Loves Chachi" and "Blansky's Beauties" also derived from characters introduced on "Happy Days.") "Laverne & Shirley" boasted the rare distinction of being a spinoff that surpassed its antecedent in ratings. Marshall directed two episodes: the pilot and "The Monestary Show," in which Laverne, seeking rest and relaxation, checks into a convent that doesn't allow her to speak. Head to the 11:30 mark in the video above to see the type of physical comedy that only mid-century sitcoms can pull off so well. Laverne is tasked with ringing the monastery bells that announce when it's time to sleep, eat and work, but when she gets carried away, the broad humor is at its synchronized best. This is hard comedy to coordinate, and Marshall's endearing direction is riotous.
  • Goldie Hawn attempts to cook in "Overboard" (1987)
    YouTube
    As Marshall's film career progressed, he became known as a director with a fondness for working with actresses. That was first confirmed in "Overboard," where Golden Hawn plays a spoiled, amnesiac heiress who is duped into thinking she is the wife of a carpenter (Kurt Russell) she wronged. Hawn is at her comedic best when playing hapless aristocrats. Case in point: this scene where she can't quite figure out how to cook a chicken.
  • "Wind Beneath My Wings" in "Beaches" (1988)
    YouTube
    "Beaches" is weepy and soapy and addictive. Even before C.C. (Bette Midler) is informed of Hillary's (Barbara Hershey) illness, we know where the movie is headed -- 30 years of rocky friendship between two people with differing aspirations can only end in heartache. It's cardinal law. But let "Beaches" and all its measured sentimentality sweep over you, especially in the scene that introduces Midler's now-iconic cover of "Wind Beneath My Wings."
  • Vivian goes shopping in "Pretty Woman" (1990)
    It's hard to think of a more satisfying rainy-day gem than "Pretty Woman," a movie that has sparked endless feminist debates, critical adjudications and well-quoted memories. Key among that latter group is the famous Rodeo Drive shopping scene, where Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) is insulted by two prissy Beverly Hills clerks. "You work on commission, right?" she asks upon returning to the store carrying bags from competing boutiques. "Big mistake. Big. Huge." It's the movie that confirmed Roberts as America's sweetheart. Marshall told The Huffington Post earlier this year that Roberts was still his top leading lady, and in watching this movie, it's easy to see why. She has a chemistry with the camera. It's what made her a star, but she can't do it alone. No matter your thoughts on the movie's gender politics, it takes a crackerjack director to frame his performers as winningly as Marshall does Roberts in "Pretty Woman."
  • The Sanderson Sisters meet the devil in "Hocus Pocus" (1993)
    YouTube
    Throughout his Hollywood tenure, Marshall popped up in a handful of comedies, including "Soapdish," "A League of Their Own," "Murphy Brown," "Never Been Kissed" and "The Simpsons." But his most delightful appearance was in "Hocus Pocus," where he and his sister, Penny, played a married couple dressed as the devil and his wife for Halloween. The harebrained Sanderson Sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy) are convinced they're the real deal.
  • Mia gets decked out in "The Princess Diaries" (2001)
    YouTube
    Marshall was really into the Cinderella narrative -- it forms the premise of "Pretty Woman" and "The Princess Diaries," which made Anne Hathaway an instant star. It's in the brilliant casting of Julie Andrews that Marshall found such success with "Diaries," but he also knew to hit many of the right teen-movie beats, including a makeover scene that overvalues fem-glam ideals, the way only teen movies know how to do. This was 2001, after all. And by the end, Mia is still her own person. Everyone wins.
  • Marshall plays a CBS exec on "Louie" (2012)
    YouTube
    After all those years in television, Marshall must have learned a thing or two about network executives. He played one on "Louie" like he'd been doing it his whole life, lording over the room wth the air of a god who can birth or execute a career in mere seconds.
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