Penny Marshall, ‘Big’ Director & ‘Laverne & Shirley’ Actress, Dies Of Diabetes Complications At 75; Tributes Pour In
Director, actress and producer Penny Marshall died at the age of 75, it was announced Tuesday.
Marshall died Monday evening at her home in Hollywood Hills “due to complications from diabetes.”
Marshall first became famous as a television star during the late 1970s and early 1980s for playing brewery worker Laverne DeFazio on the sitcom Laverne & Shirley with Cindy Williams, who portrayed Shirley Feeney. Marshall was nominated three times for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy for her performance in the show, which was a spin-off of Happy Days and that was known for its use of physical comedy.
In 1986, Marhshall made her directorial debut by helming the action comedy film Jumping’ Jack Flash, which starred Whoopi Goldberg in the lead role. Marshall then went on to direct the 1988 Tom Hanks-led comedy Big, which made her the first female filmmaker in Hollywood to direct a movie that grossed more than $100 million. After this, Marshall went on to direct movies like the 1992 baseball film A League of Their Own — which also co-starred Hanks — Awakenings (1990), Renaissance Man (1994), The Preacher’s Wife (1996) and Riding in Cars with Boys (2001). Marshall also served as executive producer for many of her films.
Marshall also made appearances in person and via voiceover for many television series and films. Her brother Garry Marshall, also a well-known film director, died in July 2016 at age 81 due to complications from pneumonia. Penny Marshall was the narrator for her brother’s final film, the 2016 romantic comedy Mother’s Day. She also had cameos in series like Taxi, The Simpsons, Entourage and the 1993 fantasy movie Hocus Pocus.
Marshall reportedly has one final film set to come out next year: the documentary Rodman about former NBA player Dennis Rodman, which is in post-production and is due to be released on Sept. 1, 2019.
The late director is survived by her sister Ronny, daughter Tracy Reiner and three grandchildren: Spencer, Bella and Viva.
Here are some tributes to Marshall from around Hollywood:
— Azita Ghanizada (@AzitaGhanizada) December 18, 2018
#RIPPennyMarshall She was funny & so smart. She made the transition from sitcom star to A List movie director with ease & had a major impact on both mediums. All that & always relaxed, funny & totally unpretentious. I was lucky to have known & worked with her. https://t.co/pf2kfIkCH4
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) December 18, 2018
So sad about Penny.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) December 18, 2018
Yesterday I held a Golden Gloves award from the 1930’s, given to me by Penny Marshall.
Hadn’t seen it in years.
Then today’s news…
Penny told me the story of Jim Braddock, which became the movie Cinderella Man. She was kind, she was crazy,so talented and she loved movies. RIP
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) December 18, 2018
I loved Penny. I grew up with her. She was born with a great gift. She was born with a funnybone and the instinct of how to use it. I was very lucky to have lived with her and her funnybone. I will miss her.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) December 18, 2018
— ROSIE (@Rosie) December 18, 2018
Thank you, Penny Marshall. For the trails you blazed. The laughs you gave. The hearts you warmed. pic.twitter.com/7qPKJa6ApH
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 18, 2018
I grew up wanting to be as funny as Penny Marshall, and had the pleasure of meeting her a few times. Watch some old Laverne and Shirley to see why her brother Garry insisted on casting her. Comedy gold, she was. ♥️ pic.twitter.com/DhP10j7m8s
— Mayim Bialik (@missmayim) December 18, 2018
Penny Marshall brought us great laughter and truly broke new ground as a director. Neither a schlemiel, nor ever a schlimazel, she shall be missed by her many fans. Rest in peace.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) December 18, 2018
Mourning the loss of a funny, poignant, and original American voice. Penny Marshall was a pioneer in television and the big screen who understood humor comes in many forms and some of life’s deeper truths require a laugh. She will be missed. May she RIP.
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) December 18, 2018
Sad to hear of Penny Marshall’s passing. a great comedienne a terrific director and a dear friend.
— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) December 18, 2018