He was an artist. And one of the last to come out of a writer's room. He wrote for the fantastic Joey Bishop Show and created a number of fine shows himself including Mork and Mindy and Happy Days. A few of his films as director were a bit sitcomish in nature (Raising Helen, Dear God, Princess Diaries 1 and 2), but that is forgivable as he got his start there and nearly all his films were at least pleasant.
His first film Young Doctors in Love was an easy film for a writer comedian, a parody on par with Woody Allen's debut, What's Up Tiger Lilly.
His second film had a bit to do with his own life, The Flamingo Kid. It was about a kid working a Summer job and from this simple scenario, Marshall made his warmest, truest and best film. He was simple and true in his next film Nothing in Common with nice results as well.
Sometimes his sitcom nature betrayed the story a bit, as with Pretty Woman and its sanitized prostitute. Sometimes, he was able to overcome that nature and make something with a bit of uneasy heft like Georgia Rule.
I have a strange fondness for Runaway Bride. He was able to make Richard Gere funny, and the breakfast question in that film is something to think about. New Year's Day was the low point for me, so low that I avoided Mother's Day in the theaters. But Valentine's Day is another matter. A lot of it works. And I will never forget the romantic date film screening in the graveyard that Ms. MacLaine and Mr. Elizondo attend.
I will never forget the way Garry Marshall used Hector Elizondo in general. He was in all his films and ever reliable. I will miss Garry Marshall.