Actress and pioneering director Penny Marshall, who starred as Laverne DeFazio in the hit ABC comedy “Laverne & Shirley” from 1976-1983, has died. Marshall, who became one of the top-grossing female directors in Hollywood, died Monday at her home in Los Angeles of complications from diabetes, according to media reports. She was 75.
“Laverne & Shirley,” in which Cindy Williams played Marshall’s best pal Shirley, was one of television’s biggest hit shows of its era.
“It also gave Marshall her start as a filmmaker,” the AP reports. “She directed several episodes of ‘Laverne & Shirley’ before making her feature film directorial debut in ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash,’ the 1986 comedy starring Whoopi Goldberg.
“Her next film made Marshall the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million. Her 1988 hit comedy ‘Big,’ starring Tom Hanks, was about a 12-year-old boy who wakes up in the body of a 30-year-old New York City man. The film earned Hanks an Oscar nomination.”
Marshall again directed Hanks in the 1992 comedy hit “A League of Their Own.” Her credits also included directing “Awakenings” in 1990 and “Riding in Cars with Boys” in 2001.
Marshall was the sister of comedy director Garry Marshall, who died in 2016, and was married to actor and director Rob Reiner from 1971-1981.