Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Penny Marshall

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Penny Marshall, who went from starring on the smash Happy Days spinoff Laverne & Shirley to helming such features including Big and A League of Their Own, died Monday night of diabetes complications at her home in the Hollywood Hills. She was 75. 

Laverne & Shirley was an out-of-the-box smash after its premiere in January 1976 on ABC. The characters appeared briefly on Happy Days — which was created by her brother Garry Marshall — but made enough of an impression to lead their own series. Also starring Cindy Williams, the midcentury-set sitcom about a pair of lower-class workers at Shotz Brewery in Milwaukee would finish as the No. 3 series in all of primetime for the 1975-76 season, far outpacing Happy Days. 

Marshall directed a handful of Laverne & Shirley episodes, setting up a second career behind the camera. Her breakthrough was 1988’s Big, which earned the first Best Actor Oscar nom for rising actor Tom Hanks. The film made more than $115 million domestically, becoming the year’s fourth-biggest grosser. Marshall followed that success with the Robert De Niro-Robin Williams film Awakenings (1990) before scoring another $100 million-plus hit with A League of Their Own, about the World War II-era all-women’s baseball league.

Laverne & Shirley is one of my all-time favorite shows (and I've watched a LOT of TV). I liked it so much I even had this album...

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It was a show that brought me a lot of joy and laughter at the time and Penny Marshall was a big part of that. She was also a great director and really had a wonderful career over the years.

She will be missed very much. 

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