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EXCLUSIVE: Ron Howard Remembers Garry Marshall and How He Became a 'Guiding Force' for His Career

by Raphael Chestang 4:38 PM PDT, July 21, 2016
Playing EXCLUSIVE: Ron Howard Remembers Garry Marshall and How He Became a 'Guiding Force' for His Career

Days after Garry Marshall's passing, Ron Howard opened up to ET about the man he calls his mentor.

When Howard started playing Richie Cunningham in Marshall's classic '70s sitcom, Happy Days, he was just 20 years old. Howard soaked up lessons from watching Marshall at work to become one of the most successful film directors in history.

WATCH: Legendary Director Garry Marshall Dies at 81

ET spoke with Marshall at a Happy Days reunion in 1992, where Marshall raved about Howard's directing skills a decade before his first Oscar win in 2002 – and we just showed Howard the footage.

"I was very proud that all these young people who came to me you know they were 18, 19, 20 years old have now grown and furthered their careers as directors," Marshall told ET at the time. "Ron Howard's one of the best directors in the whole industry."

"I was very proud that all these young people who came to me [when] they were 18, 19, 20 years old have now grown and furthered their careers as directors," Marshall told ET at the time. "Ron Howard's one of the best directors in the whole industry."

After viewing our throwback interview, Howard became emotional at Marshall's kind words.

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"He did encourage us," Howard told ET. "That's who he was. That's not him trying to look good in a TV interview, and he gave us that gift and created that environment for all of us. You kind of got me with that one. Thank you for showing me that."

Marshall made TV history with a long list of hits that include The Odd Couple, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy, as well as film staples like Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries and Beaches -- but perhaps his greatest legacy is the life lessons he instilled in the young stars who worked with him.

WATCH: Stars Share Touching Tributes to Celebrated Director Garry Marshall

"Garry was a brilliant guy, a funny guy, playful, but a fantastic teacher and mentor," Howard said. "Garry became one of these guiding forces and not just creatively. His mantra to anyone who's beginning to succeed in the business was simple: 'This is great. It's fantastic, but don't ever forget that life is more important than show business.' And he lived that, and you can see that in the choices he made."

Marshall died on Tuesday due to complications from pneumonia. He was 81. For more on Marshall's life and legacy, check out the video below.

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