Penny Marshall, who became a household name as Laverne in the TV sitcom Laverne & Shirley and went on to direct several popular movies, has died at the age of 75. Marshall died Monday night at her Los Angeles home from complications of diabetes.
In the early ’70s, Marshall got her start on shows like The Odd Couple and The Bob Newhart Show. She rose to huge fame co-starring with Cindy Williams in Laverne & Shirley, the popular sitcom created by her older brother, Garry Marshall (as was The Odd Couple). Laverne & Shirley was also where she began her directing career, directing several episodes of the show.
In the late ’80s, Marshall made the leap to big-screen director. She directed Big, starring Tom Hanks, and A League of Their Own. Awakenings, released in 1990, saw Marshall directing her first serious film, starring Robin William and Robert De Niro. It became only the second film by a female director to score an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.
Marshall was married and divorced twice; she and second husband Rob Reiner, then a star of TV’s All in the Family, were married until they split in 1979.
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