Cindy Williams, an American actor who had been in the entertainment industry for over five decades, died on Jan. 25 at the age of 75 following a brief illness. Her most iconic role was that of Shirley Feeney on the popular ’70s sitcom “Laverne & Shirley” alongside Penny Marshall.
“The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed,” her children said in a statement released through family spokeswoman Liza Cranis. “Knowing and loving her has been our joy and privilege. She was one of a kind, beautiful, generous and possessed a brilliant sense of humor and a glittering spirit that everyone loved.”
Williams was born in Van Nuys, California, on Aug. 22, 1947. She began acting in church and high school productions as a teen. After high school, Williams graduated from Los Angeles City College with a theater arts degree. She then landed several roles on television shows, including “Room 222,” “Nanny and the Professor” and “Love, American Style.” She made her big screen debut in George Lucas’ 1973 classic “American Graffiti.”
During this time, Williams first auditioned for the role of Shirley Feeney on “Laverne & Shirley.” The show aired from 1976-1983 and ran for 178 episodes. During its run, Williams received multiple awards, including Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her portrayal of Shirley Feeney.
Williams was married to singer Bill Hudson from 1982 until 2000, who was previously married to Goldie Hawn and is also the father of actors Kate and Oliver Hudson. Williams and Hudson had two children together.
In recent years, Williams has continued to stay active as an actress on both stage and screen. Last year, she appeared in a one-woman stage show called “Me, Myself and Shirley,” in which she shared memories of her career.
Cindy Williams is survived by her two children, Emily and Zachary Hudson.