Actress/Director Penny Marshall Dies at Age 75

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Funeral services were pending Tuesday for Penny Marshall, who rose to fame portraying street-wise Laverne De Fazio in the 1970s sitcom “Laverne and Shirley” but later became a successful director by helming films such as “Big” and “A League of Their Own.”

Marshall died Monday at her Hollywood Hills home due to complications of diabetes, according to a family spokeswoman. She was 75.

“Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall,” according to a statement from her family.

Born in the Bronx — the sister of eventual director/producer Garry Marshall — Marshall had some small roles on television before her brother cast her as Oscar Madison’s secretary in the TV series “The Odd Couple.” She landed a series of small film roles before landing a lead role in the TV series “Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers.” That role led her to a regular role on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and ultimately a guest shot on “Happy Days” playing Laverne De Fazio, alongside Cindy Williams as her character’s best friend, Shirley Feeney.

That role led to the creation of “Laverne and Shirley” — co-created by Garry Marshall — in 1976. The show was a hit, and ran through 1983.

Marshall did her first directing work on “Laverne and Shirley,” but moved into films by helming Whoopi Goldberg’s “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” But she established herself as a formidable director with the 1988 Tom Hanks hit “Big,” which made her the first woman to direct a film that earned more than $100 million domestically.

She also directed the Oscar-nominated “Awakenings,” “A League of Their Own,” “The Preacher’s Wife” and “Riding in Cars with Boys.”

Marshall was married for about 10 years to actor/director Rob Reiner in the 1970s.

She is survived by her sister — TV producer Ronny Hallin — daughter Tracy Reiner and three grandchildren, Spencer, Bella and Viva. Garry Marshall died in 2016.

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Actress/Director Penny Marshall Dies at Age 75
Article Name
Actress/Director Penny Marshall Dies at Age 75
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Penny Marshall, who rose to fame in 1970s sitcom "Laverne and Shirley" and later became a successful director, has died at the age of 75.
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LAWestMedia.com