Penny Marshall Dead: ‘Laverne & Shirley’ Star Dies at 75


Penny Marshall is dead. The legendary actress died on Monday, December 17, Us Weekly can confirm.

Penny Marshall Dead
Penny Marshall attends the celebration of black cinema hosted by Broadcast Film Critics Association at House of Blues Sunset Strip on January 7, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

The former Laverne & Shirley star died in her Hollywood Hills home due to complications from diabetes, Marshall’s family revealed in a statement to Us.

Penny Marshall Dead Laverne and Shirley
Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams on ‘Laverne and Shirley’ in 1979. ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

“Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall,” the statement read. “Penny was a tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together and being with her family. As an actress, her work on Laverne & Shirley broke ground featuring blue-collar women entertaining America in prime time. She was a comedic natural with a photographic memory and an instinct for slapstick. When Penny directed Tom Hanks in the movie Big she became a pioneer as the first woman in history to helm a film that grossed more than $100 million. She did it again with A League of Their Own. She directed many stars including Geena Davis, Robert De Niro, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Madonna, Denzel Washington, Rosie O’Donnell and Whitney Houston. She even gave Mark Wahlberg his first acting job. Penny was a girl from the Bronx, who came out West, put a cursive ‘L’on her sweater and transformed herself into a Hollywood success story. We hope her life continues to inspire others to spend time with family, work hard and make all of their dreams come true.”

Marshall made her TV debut in 1967 on NBC’s The Danny Thomas Hour and starred as Laverne DeFazio in the hit sitcom from 1976 to 1983.

Marshall’s extraordinary career also includes directing Tom Hanks in the 1988 film Big. Other movies she directed include the 1992 blockbuster comedy, A League of Their Own and the 1990 drama Awakenings that starred Robin Williams and 2001’s Riding in Cars with Boys.

The Bronx native — born Carole Penny Marshall — was the first female filmmaker to direct two movies that grossed more than $100 million at the box office.

During her career, Marshall was nominated for three Golden Globe awards for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series – Comedy Or Musical for her role in Laverne & Shirley.

Marshall’s death comes a little more than two years after her brother, Garry Marshall — who created the hit show Happy Days and directed movies such as Pretty Womandied in July 2016. The TV and film guru died at age 81 from complications of pneumonia after suffering a stroke.

Penny’s family added that a celebration of her life will be held at a later date to be announced.

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