(RNN) – Penny Marshall, who starred in the hit TV show “Laverne & Shirley” before becoming an acclaimed film director, has died at the age of 75.
Mashall’s publicist, Michelle Bega, said Marshall passed away in her Hollywood Hills, CA, home on Monday due to complications from diabetes.
Marshall starred alongside Cindy Williams in the hit ABC comedy “Laverne & Shirley,” which aired from 1976 to 1983.
Marshall’s iconic roll as Laverne DeFazio came when her brother, Gary, needed “fast” women to play friends of Fonzie on Happy Days in 1974. It turned into a spin-off when the guest-starring roles showcased the chemistry between Marshall and Williams and made them an instant hit.
“Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall. Penny was a tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together and being with her family,” a family statement said.
As a filmmaker, Marshall became the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million with “Big,” the 1988 comedy starring Tom Hanks.
She also directed “A League of Their Own,” ″Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Awakenings.” Marshall had most recently directed a documentary about Dennis Rodman, called “Rodman,” that is scheduled for release next year.
A number of Hollywood contemporaries of Marshall, including Rosie O’Donnell, Billy Crystal and Albert Brooks, tweeted their condolences.
Younger luminaries, like director Ava DuVernay, cited her as an inspiration.
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