Penny Marshall, the nasally and good-natured Bronx native who starred on the ABC ratings sensation Laverne & Shirley before shattering records as a top-grossing female director in Hollywood, has died. She was 75.
The younger sister of the late writer-director-producer Garry Marshall and the first wife of actor-director Rob Reiner, Marshall died from complications from diabetes, her publicist told the New York Daily News. She was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer in 2009.
Marshall earned fame — but, incredibly not even one Emmy nomination — for playing the wisecracking Laverne DeFazio on the Happy Days spinoff created by her brother. Laverne & Shirley, which aired for eight seasons from 1976-83, centered on the escapades of two romantically challenged Milwaukee brewery workers, with Cindy Williams co-starring as Marshall’s idealistic roommate, Shirley Feeney.
She directed a handful of episodes of the sitcom, then was approached to step in as a last-minute replacement for Howard Zieff to helm the feature comedy Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1986), starring Whoopi Goldberg.
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