Actress Penny Marshall passed away peacefully in her home on Monday night due to diabetes complications, said a spokeswoman for the family. She was 75 years old. “Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall,” says the Marshall family.
Penny’s character in the Happy Days spin-off Laverne & Shirley was that of an outspoken tomboy named Laverne DeFazio. The show ran for eight seasons, from 1976 to 1983 and the role launched the actress into celebrity status. She had a gift for comedy and earned three Golden Globe nominations.
She moved on to a directing career by working on episodes of different TV shows until she landed her first feature-film directing job for the 1986 action-comedy movie Jumpin’ Jack Flash starring Whoopi Goldberg. Next she went on to direct Big, starring Tom Hanks, where she became the first woman to direct a movie that produced more than $100 million!
She also directed the 1992 film A League of Their Own with Madonna and Genna Davis as part of the cast. She directed many other films, including Awakenings, Renaissance Man, Riding in Cars with Boys and The Preacher’s Wife.
“I’m not an articulate person, but I have a strange combination of insecurity and fearlessness” Penny had once told CNN.
Penny is survived by her sister, daughter and three grandchildren. Penny’s spokesperson Michelle Bega said, “We hope her life continues to inspire others to spend time with family, work hard and make all of their dreams come.”
We’ll really miss you Penny! Rest in Peace.