The most famous line from a Penny Marshall film is said by Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own: “There’s no crying in baseball!” But plenty of tears were shed in Hollywood — and around the globe — when Penny died of complications from diabetes at age 75 on Monday, Dec. 17.
Thankfully, there were also tears of laughter, as fans remembered the joy she brought them as a star on a famous sitcom and as a film director for Big. “I want you to laugh and cry,” she once said, Cinespia reported. “That’s what I do.”
Her late brother, Garry Marshall, gave her a role on The Odd Couple as Myrna, secretary to sports-writer Oscar Madison played by Jack Klugman. But it was her chemistry with Cindy Williams as the brewery workers on Laverne & Shirley that made Penny a star. “I’m very happy we did it,” Penny once admitted to Closer Weekly. “We had a lot of fun.”
At her brother’s urging, Penny began to direct Laverne & Shirley and made the leap to the big screen with hits like Awakenings and The Preacher’s Wife. Still, she said, “In my opinion, life is more important than show business.”
Penny was bedridden with health issues recently, but she was surrounded by family members and friends. “She always said, ‘I had a great life,'” her sister, Ronny Marshall Hallin, 80, revealed to Page Six on Tuesday, Dec. 18. “She was ready.”
“Penny was great — I loved her,” Ronny shared, adding that her sister passed away “very” peacefully in her Hollywood Hills, CA home surrounded by her family. The news of Penny’s death comes just more than two years after their brother Garry passed away at age 81 in July 2016.
Even amid the loss of the beloved Hollywood star, Penny’s friends and family were at peace knowing she left this world with a smile. “I loved Penny. She was born with a funny bone and knew how to use it,” her husband from 1971 to 1981, Rob Reiner, wrote on Twitter. “I was very lucky to have lived with her and her funny bone. I will miss her.” So will we.
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