'Pretty Woman,' 'Princess Diaries' & Jumping the Shark: The Best of Garry Marshall

Published On 07/20/2016 Published On 07/20/2016
Pretty Woman | Buena Vista Pictures

Whether it was from a director's chair or a producer's desk, Garry Marshall worked tirelessly to fill a cynical and often exhausted world with joy until his final days. The Hollywood stalwart passed away on Tuesday at the age of 81.

You know Marshall, even if you don't. He worked as a writer on The Dick Van Dyke ShowThe Odd Couple, and other seminal sitcoms before birthing his own: the long-running Happy Days (which in turn begat Laverne & Shirley, Mork & MindyJoanie Loves Chachi, and other spinoffs). In the '80s, he hopped over to film and directed a slew of sitcom-like movies, including BeachesPretty Woman, The Runaway Bride, The Princess Diaries, and a slew of holiday-themed rom-coms. He was also an actor who would happily show up to do a day on a wacky comedy or upbeat drama (did you hear him on Bojack Horseman Season 2?).

Whatever you think of Garry Marshall's output, the man made an indelible stamp on pop culture for generations young and old. To remember this television and movie veteran, we've rounded up the moments that we can say with utmost certainly will never fade away:

Buena Vista Pictures/YouTube

That Pretty Woman scene (you know the one)

Everyone deserves to be happy, and Garry Marshall spent most of his career spreading the word. In this perfect scene from Pretty Woman, a movie easily written off as rom-com fluff, Marshall transforms Julia Roberts into America's sweetheart with a dream moment -- a jaw-dropping dress, a handsome Richard Gere, a diamond necklace you only see through store windows -- and an all-natural giggle. None of us will live this moment, but we all will thanks to Pretty Woman.

Walt Disney Pictures/YouTube

The Princess Diaries, a 21st-century, teen-girl fantasy, 

Did Garry Marshall understand the 21st-century teenager or are is every generation like the others on a molecular level? This standard-issued makeover montage from The Princess Diaries is like sleight of hand magic. Anne Hathaway transforms, we're transported, and Marshall gets away with the greatest trick in the book: making movies that belong in the 1950s for an audience that wouldn't dare watch a movie produced before 2000. The man knew what people wanted and spoiled them like a universal grandparent. Case in point: just weeks ago, Hathaway apparently Skyped with Julie Andrews and Marshall about a possible Princess Diaries 3.

Warner Bros. Pictures/YouTube

Taylor Swift's (underused) acting career

Leave it to Garry Marshall to see through the tabloid ingenue frenzy and find room for it in a star-studded romantic-comedy. Look, Valentine's Day, along with New Year's Eve and Mother's Day, are not brilliant works of art that will beam from the annals of movie history. But if you can unearth chemistry between Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner, you deserve a Nobel Prize.

Buena Vista Pictures/YouTube

The tear-jerking legacy of "Wind Beneath My Wings"

Marshall's canonical weepie will always hold a special place in the hearts of anyone who loves a good Bette Midler movie. But even if you've never seen the 1988 sleepover staple, you've heard its syrupy theme song. "Wind Beneath My Wings," with its shiny synths and eagle-citing lyrics, may have become a punchline after dominating the charts, but it still kills as the ultimate karaoke ballad, and you can thank Marshall for that.

20th Century Fox/YouTube

The coolness of '80s teens, thanks to The Flamingo Kid

In 1984, Matt Dillon starred in a Marshall produced movie about a dude who works at a beach. While the movie doesn't have the same cultural cache as Pretty Woman or The Princess Diaries, it did something important: it was the first movie the MPAA issued the new PG-13 rating to, making teenagers around the country feel cooler than their puny younger siblings who couldn't watch Dillon rock a pink Polo.


"My Favorite Orkan," the greatest spin-off setup ever

Having already launched Laverne & Shirley, Marshall threw caution to the wind by implanting an alien visitor into his relatively down-to-earth sitcom Happy Days. On the 23rd episode of the fifth season of the show, "Mork from Ork" (Robin Williams) ends up in an intergalactic face-off with The Fonz. Why not? Marshall spotted raw talent in Williams, who would imbue Mork & Mindy with such ferocious comedic energy that Nick n' Night re-ran episodes into the dawn of millennials. 


The term "Jump the Shark"

In the late '90s, the phrase "Jumping the Shark" was on the lips and dusty keyboards of TV nerds everywhere. For the uninitiated, it was a mystery: who jumped a shark? Luckily, the answer was easy. It was Fonzie, who leapt over a shark on his water-skis and forever marked the Marshall-produced show's move into ridiculous territory that would never totally leave. All other clever pop culture phrases -- "Nuke the fridge" in particular -- will forever be in that shark's debt.

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