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Actor and director Penny Marshall has died. She was 75. Marshall passed away on Dec. 17 at her home in Hollywood Hills due to complications from diabetes. She had previously battled cancer but was in remission.
“Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall,” the Marshall family said in a statement. “Penny was a girl from the Bronx, who came out West, put a cursive ‘L’ on her sweater and transformed herself into a Hollywood success story. We hope her life continues to inspire others to spend time with family, work hard and make all of their dreams come true.”
Marshall is survived by her sister, Ronny Hallin, her daughter, Tracy Reiner, and three grandchildren.
Perhaps best well-known for her starring role as Laverne DaFazio in the hit sitcom “Laverne & Shirley,” which aired on ABC from 1976 to 1983, she went on to become the first woman who directed a movie that grossed more than $100 million with 1988’s “Big,” starring Tom Hanks.
Her brother, Garry Marshall, also worked as an actor, director, producer and screenwriter and helped his sister get her start in Hollywood with small roles, including on “Happy Days,” the hit sitcom he co-created that spawned “Laverne & Shirley.” Garry died in 2016.
She began her career behind the scenes by directing episodes of “Laverne & Shirley.” In addition to “Big,” she went on to direct a number of successful movies, including “Awakenings,” “A League of Their Own” and “Renaissance Man.” She also produced several of the films she directed.
In 2012, Marshall published her memoir, “My Mother Was Nuts,” which gave an intimate account of her personal life, including her two marriages and divorces and her relationships with fellow Hollywood stars like Carrie Fisher as well as her unique show business success story.
Stars, including Billy Crystal, Ava duVernay, Mayim Bialik, BowWow and Danny DeVito, took to social media to pay tribute to the trailblazing Hollywood star:
Sad to hear of Penny Marshall’s passing. a great comedienne a terrific director and a dear friend.
— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) 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
Had the chance to meet and sit at plenty of Laker games with ms penny marshall during my childhood years. Great woman with a great soul! RIP pic.twitter.com/6ca7TkgDBo
— Bow Wow (@smoss) December 18, 2018
Penny Marshall was a sweet woman. I was very fortunate to spend time with her. So many laughs. She had a heart of gold. Tough as nails. She could play round ball with the best of them. Always All love, D
— Danny DeVito (@DannyDeVito) December 18, 2018
Major League Baseball even joined in the online tributes for Marshall.
We join the baseball community in mourning the passing of Penny Marshall, director of "A League of Their Own." pic.twitter.com/RITPLo5xN7
— MLB (@MLB) December 18, 2018