After a lifetime of brilliant writing and directing, Happy Days creator Garry Marshall died Tuesday from pneumonia-related complications. He was 81 years old. Initially a TV writer who created a number of iconic sitcoms, Marshall went on to direct hit movies like The Princess Diaries and Pretty Woman. His most recent film, Mother's Day — starring Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, and more — came out just a few months ago, in April. But Marshall had other projects in the works before he unexpectedly passed away.
More than 25 years after Roberts and Richard Gere starred in Pretty Woman, Marshall was working on adapting Pretty Woman as a Broadway musical, and just last year secured the rights to do so. Prior to his death, he had actually just finished a rewrite of the book for the Pretty Woman musical, which is being produced by Paula Wagner, but given that the project was on and off for years, it is unclear what its fate will be. Hairspray director Jerry Mitchell and Broadway producer Wagner are both on board, though, so we'll probably hear more in the near future.
Shortly after news of Marshall's death broke, Gere sent a statement to The Hollywood Reporter to honor and remember his former director.
Garry, of course, was one of those truly important people one is blessed to meet in one's lifetime. Besides being the pulse and life force of "Pretty Woman" ... a steady helmsman on a ship that could have easily capsized ... he was a super fine and decent man, husband and father who brought real joy and love and infectious good spirits to every thing and everyone he crossed paths with. Everyone loved Garry. He was a mentor and a cheerleader and one of the funniest men who ever lived. He had a heart of the purest gold and a soul full of mischief. He was Garry.
Born in the Bronx to a dancer and an industrial films director, Marshall went on to attend Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. After college, he initially worked as a joke writer for comedians, before starting an acting career of his own. Throughout his life, he worked on plays, TV shows, movies, and even a memoir, and accumulated a significant number of awards.
Marshall's work will certainly be remembered and celebrated for a long time to come, and we will hopefully still have the Pretty Woman Broadway musical to look forward to. In an interview with Vanity Fair earlier this year, Marshall said he anticipated that the musical would be released in the fall or spring of 2017, but that the creative process was ongoing and casting had not yet begun. If the musical is indeed released next year, it would be a beautiful way to pay tribute to the life and legacy of Garry Marshall.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated that the musical was being produced by Disney. Bustle regrets this error.