Penny Marshall, the beloved actress known for starring in the classic show Laverne & Shirley and directing A League of Their Own, has passed away at the age of 75. According to a report from Variety, she died on December 17 due to complications from diabetes.
Born Carole Penny Marshall on October 15, 1943, Penny was the younger sister of fellow director Garry Marshall, who passed away in 2016. As an actress, Penny became a household name while playing Laverne alongside Cindy Williams as Shirley on the sitcom, which premiered in 1976. The characters were introduced on another classic TV staple, Happy Days, and they soon drew a large audience of their own in the spin-off. As Laverne, Penny was known for always wearing the iconic cursive “L” on her costumes and committing to the physical comedy required for the gags. The show was also known for the actresses skipping down a sidewalk and chanting before the theme song played: “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight! Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”
Penny got her start directing while working on Laverne & Shirley before moving onto major film success with movies like Big. The Tom Hanks flick went on to become the first film directed by a woman to earn $100 million at the box office. She repeated that success with A League of Their Own. Although her last film was 2001’s Riding in Cars with Boys, she continued to direct episodes of popular TV shows, such as According to Jim and United States of Tara.
Known for her thick New York accent, Penny once said, “If you're not having a good time, find something else that gives you some joy in life.” Our thoughts are with her loved ones as we mourn the loss of the legendary entertainer.