Anne Hathaway says she owes her career to Garry Marshall.

The 37-year-old actress paid a glowing tribute to the film director - who passed away in 2016 - for a TV special called 'The Happy Days of Garry Marshall', and Anne was visibly overcome with emotion as she recalled Marshall casting her in 'The Princess Diaries' in 2001 in what was her big screen debut.

Anne - who was just 18 when she was cast in the coming-of-age teen comedy - said: ''I show up [to the audition] and I looked around, there were so many other young actresses there, and I knew all of them. They were all recognisable. And here I am, this nobody walking in.

''Garry showed the auditions to his granddaughters, Lily and Charlotte, and said, 'Which girl do you think should be the princess?' And Lily and Charlotte said that I should be the princess.

''And he said, 'That girl's name is Annie. Why do you think she should be the princess?' And they said, 'Because she's got the best princess hair.'''

Hathaway was guided through her performance by the late director, who died aged 81 due to complications from pneumonia after suffering a stroke.

And the Oscar-winning star always looks back to her casting as Mia Thermopolis as a life-shaping moment.

She shared: ''I had no idea what I was doing. I was just doing my best. And Garry really crafted that performance to be the best it possibly could be. And that's how I was introduced to the world. 'The Princess Diaries' changed my life.''

Hathaway also learned the importance of being ''a good person'' in the movie business during the shoot.

The Hollywood actress said: ''He went out of his way to make sure that I knew why it was important to be a good person in this business.

''I realise that in situations when you go onto sets and things are stressful and people are freaked out and people are fighting, you can still bring the joy, 'cause Garry taught me how to bring the joy.''