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Penny Marshall

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Penny Marshall’s Close Friend Remembers The Late Star: ‘Her Heart Was As Big As Her Talent’ (Exclusive)

Rest in peace, Penny Marshall. In an exclusive new interview with Closer Weekly, the late actress’ longtime and dear friend, Giovanni Agnelli, paid tribute to the woman whose “heart was as big as her talent” following her death at age 75 on Monday, Dec. 17 after suffering complications from diabetes.

Rosie O’Donnell And More Stars React To Penny Marshall’s Death: ‘Simply Heartbroken’

“Penny took me under her wing when I first came to town. She guided and protected me. I became part of the extended family,” Agnelli, who was like a godson to Penny, told Closer. “Penny did that with people. She took in the birds with broken wings and nursed them back to flight.”

Penny Marshall Giovanni Agnelli
Giovanni Agnelli

Penny and Giovanni.


Agnelli continued, “To this day, I’ve never met anyone that understood people and storytelling in their purest form better than her. Her heart was as big as her talent. I am devastated not only for myself, but for her daughter, and her grandchildren. I love them dearly.” Penny is survived by her second ex-husband, actor Rob Reiner, 71, their daughter, Tracy Reiner, 54, and her five grandchildren.

Following Penny’s death, her sister, Ronny Marshall Hallin, revealed details of the Laverne & Shirley star’s final moments. “She was ready. She always said, ‘I had a great life,'” Ronny, 80, told Page Six on Tuesday, Dec. 18. “Penny was great — I loved her.”

In Penny’s obituary, her family wrote: “Penny was a tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together, and being with her family. 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.”

Penny will be greatly missed by all in Hollywood and around the world. Our thoughts remain with the entire Marshall family during this difficult time.

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