Penny Marshall has died aged 75.
The ‘Laverne & Shirley’ star – who was the younger sister of the late writer, producer, and director Garry Marshall – has passed away after suffering complications from diabetes, her publicist confirmed on Tuesday (12.18.18).
Penny earned fame for playing Laverne DeFazio on the ‘Happy Days’ spin-off ‘Laverne & Shirley’ which was created by her brother, and which aired for eight seasons from 1976-83.
After being approached to step in as a last minute replacement for Howard Zieff to helm the 1986 feature comedy ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, Penny went on to direct 1988 movie ‘Big’ – which starred Tom Hanks in the leading role – which became the first film directed by a woman to gross more than $100 million domestically.
Penny teamed up with Tom Hanks again for the 1992 movie ‘A League of Their Own’, for which she also broke through the $100 million barrier.
The actress and director often credited her brother Garry – who passed away in July 2016 at the age of 81 – with giving her “a life” through her role in the ‘Happy Days’ spin off.
Speaking after he passed away, she had said: “My brother gave me a life. It’s not many people who have a brother who give them a life. He gave me a life and I appreciate it and I tried to not let him down.”
Whilst in 2012, Penny claimed it was Garry who advised she seek out acting classes, and told her not to listen to members of her family who tried to steer her away from her chosen career path.
She said at the time: “He’s a great guy. I wouldn’t have a career without him. He told me go have lunch with this person, go take acting classes from this person. I said, ‘Mommy wants me to change my name.’ He said, ‘Why?’ ‘Because she doesn’t want me to embarrass the family.’ He said, ‘Don’t listen to her, she’s nuts.’ ”