Actress and director, Penny Marshall has passed away at the age of 75 due to complications from diabetes.

What’s happening:

  • The Los Angeles Times reports that Penny Marshall passed away peacefully at her home due to complications from diabetes. She was 75.
  • Marshall made a name for herself starring as Laverne De Fazio opposite Cindy Williams on ABC’s Laverne and Shirley. She also played the character on Happy Days and Mork and Mindy.
  • Marshall first appeared on television on The Jackie Gleason Show in an uncredited role as a dancer. She went on to makes dozens of appearances in shows like The Odd Couple (created by late brother Garry Marshall), as well as television movies.
Penny Marshall with brother Garry Marshall at the TV Land Awards in 2008.

Penny Marshall with brother Garry Marshall at the TV Land Awards in 2008.

  • She even had a role on The Magical World of Disney in the two-part episode, The Wacky Zoo of Morgan City.
  • Sharp-eyed fans might recognize her in the uncredited role of The Master’s Wife from Disney’s cult classic Hocus Pocus.
  • Marshall would later move behind the camera to direct acclaimed feature films including:
    • Big
    • A League of Their Own
    • The Preacher’s Wife
    • Riding in Cars With Boys
  • In fact, Big, starring Tom Hanks, made her the first female director in Hollywood history to direct a movie that grossed more than $100 million.
  • The Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO, Bob Iger shared his condolences on Twitter:

In their words:

  • Penny Marshall to The Times in 1988: “I’m sure people thought I got parts because my brother was being nice, and at first I probably thought the same thing. “But my brother finally told me, ‘I’m not giving you a job ’cause I’m nice. I’m not that nice.’”
  • Marshall in a 1988 interview with The Times: “I was born with a frown. I always feel like somehow I’m going to be a failure. I’m from the negativity and depression school. When I see bad reviews, I say, ‘Yeah, they’re probably right.’
  • Marshall on helming a project (1988): “With directing, I know people on movie sets want leadership, but I don’t exude that captain-of-the-ship image. I’d get on the phone with [‘Big’ producer] Jim Brooks and apologize all the time and say, ‘I’m no good at this.’”
  • Brooks in response to Marshall: “Penny has an iron will, which is a thing that almost everybody misses. You can’t do the job she’s done and have it be dictated by insecurities. Penny has great creative instincts and a real openness to the creative process. She would talk to her actors very honestly and I think that made her actors trust her.”

Marshall is survived by her daughter Tracy Reiner, three grandchildren, and sister her Ronny. Plans for a memorial service have yet to be made.

 
 

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