Penny Marshall, of ‘Laverne & Shirley,’ dead at 75

They said: "Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall".

"Like her brother Garry [creator of 'Happy Days"], Penny had a born instinct for amusing.

Marshall in her breakout role, as Laverne to Cindy Williams' Shirley, in Laverne & Shirley.

"It was the toughest show, or project I ever did, was Laverne & Shirley", Garry told NPR in 2012, "mostly because it's my sister, and you can't hide from your sister".

Marshall was first in the spotlight as Laverne in the hit sitcom "Laverne & Shirley". Her gift for physical comedy helped earn her accolades, including three Golden Globe nominations. Marshall also directed "A League of Their Own", and "Awakenings" starring Robin Williams. Her first film was the underwhelming 1986 Whoopi Goldberg comedy Jumpin' Jack Flash, but that was followed by the charming 1988 hit Big, starring fellow former TV sitcom star Tom Hanks. He told me go have lunch with this person, go take acting classes from this person. She also appeared with Cindy Williams on the TV show "Happy Days".

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Marshall is survived by her daughter Tracy Reiner, whom she had with her first husband Michael Henry and was later adopted by Marshall's second husband, director Rob Reiner.

"It was a very wide street", Marshall once joked to CNN.

Larry King paid tribute to Marshall in a statement on Twitter. "I grew up with her". "To many of us lost ones she was, at the time, the world's greatest den mother". She was a comedic natural with a photographic memory and an instinct for slapstick.

"I had recently gotten married and I was pregnant and I thought I was going to come back and they'd hide me behind benches, couches, pillows, and that wasn't it", she said.

Director Penny Marshall attends the game between the New York Knicks and the Memphis Grizzlies at Madison Square Garden on March 27, 2013 in New York City.

  • Michelle Webb