HOLLYWOOD HILLS—Actress Penny Marshall who grew to fame on the comedy series “Laverne & Shirley” passed away at the age of 75 on Monday, December 17 at her Hollywood Hills home. According to reports, Marshall’s death is the result of complications she sustained from diabetes.
Marshall is the sister of famed Hollywood writer, director and producer Garry Marshall who passed away in July 2016 at the age of 81. Garry is responsible for directing the 90s classic “Pretty Woman” starring Oscar-winner Julia Roberts. She was born Carole Penny Marshall in the Bronx, New York on October 15, 1943.
Garry created “Laverne & Shirley” which aired for eight seasons, with the comedy ending its run in 1986. Marshall portrayed Laverne DeFazio alongside her co-star Cindy Williams who portrayed Shirley Feeney. She was nominated for three Golden Globes awards for Best Actress in a Comedy Series in 1978, 1979 and 1980.
The actress was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, which spread to her brain, but she revealed in 2012 that the cancer was in remission. Marshall married actor and director Rob Reiner in 1971, who gave Penny’s daughter Tracy his legal name. They later divorced in 1981. She is survived by her daughter Tracy Reiner, whom she had with Michael Henry in 1963, they later divorced in 1966.
Marshall was known for her work behind the camera making her directorial debut in 1986 with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” in 1986 before directing Tom Hanks in the comedy “Big” in 1988. It was the first film directed by a woman that crossed the $100 million mark at the box-office. Hanks earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his role in the movie. She helmed the film “Awakenings” starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.
She also directed the 1992 classic “A League of Their Own” starring Hanks, Rosie O’Donnell, Madonna and Geena Davis. She also directed the holiday movie “The Preacher’s Wife” starring Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston in 1996. She also directed the 2001 dramedy “Riding in Cars With Boys” which starred Drew Barrymore.
Marshall served as a producer for the 2005 films “Cinderella Man” starring Russell Crowe and Renee Zellwegger and the comedy “Bewitched” starring Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman. She recently narrated the 2016 dramedy “Mother’s Day.”