12 Actors Who Got Their Start With Garry Marshall

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Director Garry Marshall (L) and actress Anne Hathaway talk at The American Cinema Editors' 54th Annual ACE Eddie Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 15, 2004 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The man behind some of America's most beloved TV series and movies, Garry Marshall, has died. While fans are mourning his passing, some actors who owe their careers to Garry Marshall have already expressed their appreciation for the actor, writer, director, and producer via Twitter. And because of Marshall's widespread influence in the television and movie industries, he is responsible for kicking off the acting careers of many famous celebrities — including some actors that you can't even remember a time when they weren't famous.

While Marshall single-handedly kept Hector Elizondo in work for years, Elizondo did not begin his acting career with Marshall like many of Hollywood's A-listers did. Marshall started his own career off as a TV writer before becoming a movie director, which helps explain how he managed to showcase so much talent throughout his long career. From writing for The Dick Van Dyke Show to directing Mother's Day, Marshall provided joy to the public for over 50 years and in that time frame, he became the face that launched a thousand acting careers.

The number of impressive actors that Marshall helped start the careers of is pretty outstanding. In honor of his passing, here are 12 actors who can credit their big breaks to Marshall.

Henry Winkler

The Fonze was born because of Marshall creating the TV series Happy Days in 1974. And with that, both Henry Winkler and Fonzie became household names. 

Michael McKean

The first Happy Days spinoff was Laverne and Shirley, starring Marshall's sister Penny. However, the series birthed a new star in Michael McKean who was the Lenny from the series' Lenny and Squiggy. The veteran actor is still on TV today with Better Call Saul, but his career started out because of Marshall. 

Scott Baio

Fonzie's cousin Chachi wasn't introduced until a couple seasons in on Happy Days and though Scott Baio had already been in the film Bugsy Malone with Jodie Foster, as his appearance at the Republican National Convention solidified, he'll always be known as Chachi. 

Robin Williams

The next Happy Days spinoff created a superstar with Robin Williams as alien Mork in Mork and Mindy. While Williams was already working as a comedian and would have become a comedy sensation no matter what because of his massive talent, Mork and Mindy brought him into American homes every week. 

Julia Roberts

Technically, Roberts was already establishing herself as a movie star by the time Pretty Woman rolled around since she had the films Mystic Pizza and Steel Magnolias (for which she was nominated for an Oscar) under her belt. However, as Rolling Stone's Peter Travers noted in his 1990 review of Pretty Woman, "Years from now, Hollywood historians may try to pinpoint the precise moment when Julia Roberts became a star. ... It's here, about fifteen minutes into this silly-shallow comedy."

Mayim Bialik

Two years before she became Blossom on TV, The Big Bang Theory's Mayim Bialik starred as the younger version of Bette Midler's character CC Bloom in the Marshall-tearjerker from 1988 — Beaches

Anne Hathaway

Before The Princess Dairies, the only other professional acting role Anne Hathaway had on her résumé was the TV series Get Real. Needless to say, Hathaway has the Marshall-directed film to credit for changing her life.

Mandy Moore

While she didn't start her music career off with Marshall, Mandy Moore most certainly has him to thank for getting her acting career started. The year after her turn as mean girl Lana in The Princess Diaries, she was starring in A Walk to Remember

Sarah Paulson

The Emmy-nominated actress of The People v. O.J. Simpson and American Horror Story, was one of the sisters in Marshall's The Other Sister. The film starred Juliette Lewis as a woman with mental disabilities and Paulson, whose only other movie credit at that time was Levitation, portrayed one of Lewis' sisters.

Abigail Breslin


There was a brief time in Abigail Breslin's life where she was not famous, but Marshall changed that when he put her in the Kate Hudson film Raising Helen. Her older brother Spencer Breslin starred alongside her and though he was already famous from Disney's The Kid, Abigail has proven to be the real star of the family. 

Chris Pine



Before he was Captain Kirk, Chris Pine was Nicholas Devereaux. I will never forget the first time I saw Pine on the big screen because I had a huge crush on him in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement and the sequel was Pine's first movie.

Taylor Swift

Like Moore, Taylor Swift was already famous for her music when she was cast in Marshall's Valentine's Day. However, considering the only acting roles she had before the ensemble film were in CSI and Hannah Montana: The Movie, Marshall gave Swift a big movie break as the high schooler who liked to make out with Taylor Lautner.

Marshall will be missed, but thanks to his many contributions to the entertainment industry and the many stars he introduced, he will always be remembered fondly.

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