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In the days since Garry Marshall died, one of his most frequent collaborators remained surprisingly silent. Now, Julia Roberts has opened up about what the director, who cast her in four of his movies, meant to her and revealed why it may have taken so long for her to respond to the news.
“There is no way to put into words, brief or expounded, how I feel about Garry,” Roberts tells People magazine exclusively. “He held too big a place in my life and in my heart. He was a giant in every way.”
She adds, “To know Garry Marshall was to love him. 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.”
It seems that even before she worked with Marshall on the movie that would become her big break, 1990’s Pretty Woman, she was a fan of the TV shows he created.
“The map of Garry’s career is long and illustrious. Innovative and simply amazing,” Roberts muses. “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.”
She continues: “For 10 years he made all who watched television laugh and learn and strive to be better, more open people. 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.”
She adds that his devotion to his family is reflected in his work.
“His family was everything to him, and it showed in every piece of work he ever did. 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 Lori, Kathy and Scotty,” Roberts says, referring to his wife and children. “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.”
And, Roberts says, she hopes that Marshall’s “ideals and stories” provide hope in a troubling time, “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.”
In addition to Pretty Woman, Roberts and Marshall collaborated on Runaway Bride (which also marked a reunion with Pretty Woman co-star Richard Gere), Valentine’s Day and, most recently, Mother’s Day.
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