Producer, writer and filmmaker Garry Marshall passed away on Tuesday, July 19, in Burbank, California, due to complications of pneumonia following a stroke. Honing his craft as a writer and producer of TV shows like I Love Lucy, The Odd Couple and Happy Days, Garry would go on to direct some of the biggest comedies of the '80s and '90s, including Overboard and Pretty Woman.
Prior to Garry passing away, Oprah: Where Are They Now? sat down with Laura San Giacomo, who plays Vivian's wisecracking roommate in Pretty Woman, as she shared her thoughts about working with Garry.
First, she says, he is hugely responsible for making sure the tone of Pretty Woman stayed funny without seeming to make light of drug use and prostitution. "There were things that were just too heavy to be funny, and so, we just had to keep toning it and moving it in a slightly different direction," Laura explains. "We're just like, 'Okay, we can't really joke about crack, so what can we joke about? What's funny?'"
"So, we would just, we would just sort of guide it to that tone that Garry wanted and that the piece was becoming," Laura says. "It was just this pulling it along this line of what's going to work? What's going to be funny? What's going to be heartfelt? What's going to move people? What's the truth of this situation?"
Additionally, Laura says, Garry was a positive presence on set. "He is so warm and present and trusting," Laura says. "It's like you're just in Garry's arms and he's just guiding you along, and then he'll kick you out of his arms and say, 'Go. Go do something funny.' And that's sort of how it feels, and that's really a very fun way to work."
His crew, Laura says, were like family to him. "Just watching Garry and his crew and Garry and his family, who are also—a lot of family are on the crew—but just he would walk into a set and he would say, 'I need something yellow here' and people would just disperse to bring him," Laura says. "It's just that lovely feeling of he is the guy and we love him and we would do anything for him. It's very sweet, a very sweet atmosphere."
More from Laura San Giacomo:
Laura San Giacomo on How to View Disability