By Sandra Rose  | 

Penny Marshall

Actress, director Penny Marshall passed away from complications related to diabetes in Los Angeles, Calif. on Tuesday. She was 75.

In 2010, it was reported that Marshall was diagnosed with lung cancer that had metastasized to her brain. In 2012, she revealed she was in remission.

Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams

Marshall, left, is best known for her role as Laverne DeFazio on the hit TV sitcom Laverne & Shirley which aired from 1976–1983. She is pictured with 'Laverne' co-star Cindy Williams in an archival photo dated Sept. 22, 2002.

Marshall went on to direct films, including Big (1988) and The Preacher's Wife (1996), starring Whitney Houston. Marshall was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture for Awakenings (1990).

Marshall was born in the Bronx, NY, where she grew up in the same neighborhood as Neil Simon, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. She moved to Los Angeles at the invitation of her older brother, Garry Marshall (d. 2016), a writer whose credits included The Dick Van Dyke Show.

In 1971, Marshall married actor/director Rob Reiner, star of TV sitcom All in the Family.

In 1975, Garry Marshall, who was then creator/writer for TV sitcom Happy Days, cast his sister and actress Cindy Williams as 2 wisecracking brewery workers who were dates for Richie (Ron Howard) and Fonzie (Henry Winkler). The girls were such a big hit with studio audience that Garry produced a spinoff series for them, Laverne & Shirley.

Marshall and Williams were plagued with lesbian rumors until Williams left the show in 1983 due to her pregnancy. The show was canceled shortly afterwards.

Marshall later dated singer Art Garfunkel in the mid-1980s.

Garfunkel said of Marshall, "Everything changed. Penny is a sweet human being who can bring anybody down to earth. We had a lot of laughs, great sex, and a ton of party nights."

In this photo, Lakers season ticket holder Penny Marshall sat courtside between pop singer Mariah, left, and rap artist Lil' Bow Wow at a NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Indiana Pacers on March 5, 2003 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Photos by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images, Vince Bucci/Getty Images

  • Karen Brady

    Got damn Laverne... RIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Yardgirl

    RIP Penny!! Laverne and Shirley was so funny back in the day!!

  • tintin


    Lord forgive me but she looks like she's dressed in drag in all her photos

  • Mz_Opinionated

    Aww! That's a shame! I don't remember LaVerne and Shirley too much but I remember seeing it some...What a shame.

  • Shenanigans1

    RIP. I just watched the preachers wife last night. Poor lady.

  • Chicagowise

    She treated Cindy Williams like shyt! She was petty and vindictive. The latter episodes of Laverne and Shirley were too torturous to watch. When she started throwing herself at "Carmine," I was done with Petty Penny.

  • Wreckognize Game

    I love Laverne and Shirley with my old azz. RIP Penny

  • DroneRivers

    RIP. I never knew she was married to Rob Reiner.

  • Nancy Drew-Natural & Luv’n It!

    RIP Penny.

  • DaughterOfaQueen

    Me either.

  • WutizstillHERE!
  • Blue

    Awww ... RIP

  • ohdearme

    The movie Big is still one of my all time favorites. Rest in peace.

  • hi-liter

    1, 2, 3, 4, 6. 6, 7, 8,.....

  • JazzyBossyJen
  • Phillybruh

    Not Laverne :(

  • Thee Jaguar Doll

    Lol. How did it taste?

  • WhoKnew
  • FukkFolks2018

    Goes to see if the entire show is someplace. Bc baby I LOVED that show. That and Happy Days and Mork and Mindy. So damn SAD. One last "Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated" for you Penny. RIP. I promise you seemed like you were a lot of fun.

  • Phillybruh

    I thought Shirley got pregnant and married and couldn't keep up with the demand of the show.

  • Phillybruh

    Happy Days spun all those shows off

  • FukkFolks2018

    YESSSSS. I loved that one most of all. Arnold's owned by an Asian man. Joanie and Chaichi. The Fonz. My whole childhood is dying and it makes me hella sad man.

  • Phillybruh

    The facts of life girls are still alive so we aren't that old...but all but one of different strokes are gone.

  • FukkFolks2018

    Two. Janet still here. Charlene Dupri lol. But far as regular cast who in the hell woulda thought TODD would be the last?????

    And Lord. Yes. TFOL was my shat too.

  • FukkFolks2018

    For me with her as a director Riding In Car With Boys. Unsung ass movie. I love that movie

  • Phillybruh

    Not me, I had him pegged for 2nd after Gary he always had medical issues

  • Brown & Proud

    Aww RIP! To this day Laverne and Shirley is still my ish! Loved that show!

  • Marlika

    I was telling a younger co worker of mine a few weeks ago that she reminded me of Laverne. She looked at me like ? ????? Who? I’m like you’ve never heard of or even watched Laverne & Shirley? So said no ????? Even after I googled a picture her dumb behind didn’t know. Youngins these days ??????

    I remember as a kid wanted to sew an L on my clothing like Laverne since my real name begins with an L.?

    Rest East Penny!??

  • Mellsvoice

    And the guy who played Dudley is still alive. I follow him on IG. He's been married for 20+ years and he seems to have adjusted well.

  • Chicagowise

    That's the scrubbed down version of what happened. The truth is, they made it impossible for Cindy to stay. Once the show became successful, Penny didn't think she needed a costar.

  • Marlika

    ?my older sister did the same. My grandma cursed her ass out for wasting her damn milk and Diet Pepsi. She told her unless yous got milk & Diet Pepsi money you better drink that sh*t and like it. ?????
    Needless to say her dumb behind didn’t drink it. She cried until my grandma let her off the hook.??

  • cristalle1

    Rest In Peace. I LOVED Laverne and Shirley, Awakenings and Big. She and her brother, Garry Marshall were immensely talented.


    RIP to a true OG.
    To this day, I still write my L's like the initial on Laverne's sweater...

  • disqus_DxKO3ThTGI

    L&S, 3's company, Too close for comfort and A different World made me excited to become a adult and live on my own........I was very young but those were the only show's to watch in the 80's......Rip..

  • Wreckognize Game

    I thought about doing it but was scared. Did it taste like a milk shake?

  • FukkFolks2018

    THIS about the L's!!!

  • FukkFolks2018

    Lord let me go find him. Dudley was funny

  • Judge Mental Will

    I heard the show ended because she was getting preferential treatment because her brother was the creator and executive producer.

  • Wreckognize Game

    Carol Burnett is still around. I used to run inside to watch her like it was 106 and Park?

  • 11pink123

    I have no idea who this is

  • KcoolMuziq
  • mzwhang90210

    Penny also directed "A League of Their Own."
    I loved that movie.
    RIP. I had no idea that she was ill.

  • Madame Dinero

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! DISGUSTING!! LOL I tired it as a youngging as well... Vo dee o doe =)

  • dontgetblocked

    The Preacher's Wife is one of my favorite movies. I'm going to try to watch it this holiday season. It's hard now that Whitney is dead.

  • ?? Kari ?????????

    One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
    Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!

    I loved watching Lavern and Shirley
    RIP Penny Marshall

  • hi-liter

    BIG with Tom Hanks, Jumpin Jack Flash with Whoopi Goldberg....never knew Penny directed those either.

  • Logan Roberts

    RIP Penny. She was so humble.

  • Dahl

    Aaaw, this is sad, RIP...

  • Lorenzo Chaps

    RIP Penny Marshall. Condolences to her family. 75 years, a storybook career, and a friend to many. Hey, I'll take it.

  • suganspice68

    Rest in peace Penny!

  • suganspice68


  • suganspice68

    I didn't know that she was married to Meathead?

  • Wreckognize Game

    I really was trying to say a float. That's what I thought it would taste like but couldn't get enough nerve to try it.

  • DroneRivers


  • Readytochokemothernatureout

    Rip I used to watch that a lot as a kid with our only 4 tv stations. I love the Preacher's Wife and will always remember them on SNL her and Nippy.

  • Toni Wiggins-Sorzano

    Damn. I used to watch Lavern and Shirley with my parents. I still remember the theme song.

    Damn RIP Penny.

  • BeUtFullSoul

    The memories... I ?? LAVERNE & Shirley.. RIP “Laverne “

  • Bee jaay Cee

    She played Rick Fox's mom when he was on "The Game".

  • Rhyme and Reason

    Peace and Blessings to her family, gone too soon, but definitely did her thing, R.I.P. Penny Marshall!

  • WutizstillHERE!

    It did kinda. I only tried it once so it wasn't the world rocker.

  • WutizstillHERE!

    LOL!!! I snuck a can of my moms.. she would buy them buy the case when they went on sale..

  • WutizstillHERE!

    It was ok.. it didn't become something I craved. It was it tasted like a float without rootbeer but pepsi instead.

  • Lanegra??

    DAm I loved her. R.I.P

  • supastar

    I will never forget that theme song

    One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
    Schlemiel Schlimazel Hasenpfeffer Incorporated
    We’re gonna do it!
    Give us any chance, we’ll take it.
    Give us any rule, we’ll break it.
    We’re gonna make our dreams come true.
    Doin’ it our way.

  • supastar


  • Wayup!

    Omg thought I was the only one...?

  • ClaireHuxtable

    What a funny lady! So talented too!
    RIP and thank you for the laughter.

  • tia

    RIP Ms. Marshall. I loved this show.

  • Lady_Elle

    RIP Ms Penny Marshall!
    I was a FAN!!!
    I loved Laverne & Shirley...
    I loved the movies she directed (BIG; A League of Their Own; Preachers Wife <3)

  • ClaireHuxtable

    Me 2!

  • ClaireHuxtable

    Very! She also wrote a book. I think it's called, "My Mother is a Nut".

  • ClaireHuxtable

    I just remembered Lenny & Sqiggy!!

  • ClaireHuxtable

    Fonzi had women droppin'em left & right!

  • ClaireHuxtable

    I think she's touring now.

  • ?jessica?

    Luverne is gone on to glory

  • PlayerP

    We're gonna do it!