'I am recess': The human comedies of Garry Marshall, bringing sauciness to the mainstream

July 20, 2016 11:32 AM

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Garry Marshall wore many hats in movies and television over the last 60 years, as a writer, director, producer and actor. His successes were as mainstream as they come: "Happy Days," and its hit spinoffs "Laverne & Shirley," "Mork & Mindy" and "Joanie Loves Chachi," on TV; big-screen hits like "Pretty Woman," "Beaches" and "The Princess Diaries." His last film before his death Tuesday at 81, "Mother's Day," the third in a holiday-themed trilogy, was released in April.

But there was something spiky and offbeat about his work, too, and especially about his person. Years in Hollywood notwithstanding, he came off as an Italian-American — technically an Italian-German-English-Socttish-American — from the Bronx his whole life. He was a class act with ragged edges.

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