One day after news broke on Tuesday, Dec. 18 that beloved Hollywood actress and director Penny Marshall had died at age 75, her Laverne & Shirley co-star Cindy Williams has paid tribute to her late friend. “What an extraordinary loss. My good friend, Penny Marshall is gone — one in a million. Utterly unique, a truly great talent. And, oh what fun we had! Can’t describe how I’ll miss her,” Cindy, 71, told Closer Weekly in a statement.
From 1976 until 1983, Penny portrayed Laverne and Cindy played Shirley on the hit ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley. The two previously co-starred on Happy Days before getting their own spin-off show. Following Penny’s passing on Monday, Dec. 17 due to complications from diabetes, several Happy Days cast members similarly paid tribute to the late star.
“#RIPPennyMarshall. She was funny and so smart. She made the transition from sitcom star to A-List movie director with ease and had a major impact on both mediums. All that and always relaxed, funny, and totally unpretentious. I was lucky to have known and worked with her,” Ron Howard wrote on Twitter. In a statement to People, Henry Winkler recalled when he was first introduced to Penny as a young actor.
“I first met Penny one month after having arrived here in L.A. I was a guest star on a TV pilot she was working on. The next time we worked together was on that iconic episode of Happy Days. She was so inventive, so funny, and so warm,” he shared. “She brought her own unique brand of humor to what was on the written page. Watching her playing Laverne, I remember thinking, ‘Wow, she has just created the 20th Century Lucille Ball.’”
In messages released by their shared publicist, Anson Williams gushed Penny’s “talent and inspiration is evergreen,” while co-star Marion Ross said, “Our dear sweet Penny has gone up to see [her brother, Garry Marshall]. So, there will no doubt be happier days in heaven, just as they made every day happy for us here on earth.”
Rest in peace, Penny Marshall, you will be greatly missed.