Cindy Williams (left) and Penny Marshall in a scene from Laverne & Shirley. Picture: Supplied
Cindy Williams (left) and Penny Marshall in a scene from Laverne & Shirley. Picture: Supplied

Laverne & Shirley star dead at 75

ACTRESS and director Penny Marshall - famed for her sassy character on the TV classic Laverne & Shirley - has died at age 75.

According to TMZ, who first reported the news, Marshall passed away in her Hollywood Hills home on Monday night from complications from diabetes.

According to the New York Post, the comedic actress had reportedly been battling serious health issues off and on since around 2009, when she was diagnosed with lung cancer that then spread to her brain.

Marshall was best-known for her 1970s and '80s on-screen antics as beer-bottle-capper Laverne DeFazio opposite quirky co-star Cindy Williams, aka Shirley Feeney.

Marshall went on to direct such flicks as Big, Awakenings and A League of Their Own.

She and her family, including late director brother Garry Marshall, grew up in the Bronx across the road from the man she would later marry, director Rob Reiner.

"When Rob Reiner and I were children, we lived across the street from each other. We never met because the Grand Concourse [in the Bronx] was a busy street, and we were too young to cross it,'' Marshall told the New York Post in 2012.

"He went to [primary school] PS 8, I went to 80. He moved when he was seven. His father, Carl, was one of the stars on Your Show of Shows, and he was the most famous person in the neighbourhood. He was also known for giving out the best Halloween candy."

 

Penny Marshall with her brother, producer-director Garry Marshall who died in 2016. Picture: AP
Penny Marshall with her brother, producer-director Garry Marshall who died in 2016. Picture: AP

 

Penny Marshall directed Robin Williams, left, and Robert De Niro in Awakenings. Picture: AP
Penny Marshall directed Robin Williams, left, and Robert De Niro in Awakenings. Picture: AP

She married Reiner in 1971, and the pair divorced 10 years later.

Friends had been worried about Marshall in recent months after the deaths of her brother and best friend and fellow Hollywood writer and actress Carrie Fisher, RadarOnline reported last year.

 

- with the New York Post