Penny Marshall, who played feisty Laverne in ‘Laverne & Shirley’, dies at 75


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LOS ANGELES (AP/WPIX/KTLA) — Penny Marshall, who starred in “Laverne & Shirley” before becoming one of the top-grossing female directors in Hollywood, has died. She was 75.

Mashall’s publicist, Michelle Bega, said Marshall passed away in her Hollywood Hills, Calif., home on Monday due to complications from diabetes. “Our family is heartbroken,” the Marshall family said in a statement.

The actress became a star after the massive success of the hit ABC sitcom “Laverne & Shirley” – where she starred as Laverne DeFazio, a Milwaukee brewery worker, alongside Cindy Williams. Marshall earned three Golden Globe nominations for the role of Laverne during the show’s run from 1976 to 1983, when it was among the biggest hits of its era.

Before her star turn on the “Happy Days” spinoff, she was a regular on “The Odd Couple,” playing Myrna, the secretary of sportswriter Oscar Madison, played by Jack Klugman.

She went onto direct “Big,” starring Tom Hanks, in 1988. That movie made her the first female director to gross more than $100 million

Four years later, Marshall directed “A League of Their Own” — another hit, earning more than $100 million. As a filmmaker, she also directed “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Awakenings.”

Marshall was the younger sister of producer Ronny Hallin and Garry Marshall, a writer, producer and actor who died in 2016. Penny Marshall was married to Michael Henry for two years in the 1960s and to the director Rob Reiner from 1971-1981.

She is survived by five grandchildren and her daughter Tracy Reiner, an actress who worked with Marshall on “Laverne & Shirley,” “Big” and “A League of Their Own.”

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