The filmmaker passed away last week (19Jul16), aged 81, after suffering complications from pneumonia following a stroke, and while Julia Roberts Pretty Woman co-stars jumped to offer their tributes to their beloved director, she took her time to find the right words, breaking her silence on Wednesday (27Jul16) in a statement via People magazine. “To know Garry Marshall was to love him,” she wrote, “and I was luckier than most to have loved him for my entire adult life and luckier still to have been loved by him because his love was unconditional, inexhaustible and magical.”
Garry also worked with his Pretty Woman leading lady in Runaway Bride, Valentine’s Day, and his final film Mother’s Day, which was released earlier this year (16). The actress’ adoration for Garry started long before their first movie together: “The map of Garry’s career is long and illustrious,” she added. “Innovative and simply amazing. I was 7 years old when Happy Days came on TV. Followed a couple of years later by Laverne & Shirley and then Mork & Mindy. I have said before that Garry Marshall raised me, and it is rather true.”
“For 10 years he made all who watched television laugh and learn and strive to be better, more open people,” she continued. “He taught us to be nice, that life could be simple and sweet and, most importantly, that friends and family were everything. It is my great fortune that there were only a few short years between Happy Days going off the air and Garry Marshall walking into my life and changing it in so many ways.” Julia went on to gush about Garry’s devotion to his family, including his wife of over five decades, Barbara, insisting, “Every romantic moment, every kiss he portrayed in the last 53 years was an ode to Barbara Marshall. Each kid that learned to catch a baseball or girl who had a crush on a boy were versions of and love letters to (his kids) Lori, Kathy and Scotty. Anywhere he traveled and each story he told contained his love and devotion and gratitude for his family. He taught by example how work and family intertwine.”
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“There is no way to put into words, brief or expounded, how I feel about Garry,” Julia concluded. “He held too big a place in my life and in my heart. He was a giant in every way. I do believe, at a time when the world seems to suffer so deeply, we could all benefit from remembering Garry’s ideals and stories of kindness and honesty – how good we can be if we just try.”