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