Penny Marshall, famed actress, comedian, director, dies at 75

Marshall starred as 'Laverne' in hit sitcom 'Laverne & Shirley'

Penny Marshall presents Rosie O'Donnell the Lucy Award at Women In Film's Crystal and Lucy Awards at the Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles, Ca. Friday, Sept. 20, 2002. Photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect.

Penny Marshall, the famed actress, comedian and director, has died at age 75, according to multiple reports including NBC News. 

Marshall first hit fame with her role as Laverne on the hit sitcom "Laverne & Shirley" in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 

She also directed several films including "A League of Their Own." According to the Associated Press, Marshall became the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million with "Big," the 1988 comedy starring Tom Hanks. 

Here is the famous show opening from "Laverne & Shirley":

Marshall starred in the show alongside actress Cindy Williams. The show ran for eight seasons on ABC, from January 1976 to May 1983. It was a spin-off of "Happy Days," in which both Marshall and Williams played minor guest star roles. But their characters were strong enough to get them their own show. 

Marshall talks about the start of the spin-off in this short interview: 

In an interview with HuffPost in 2013, Marshall recalled the show on the 30th anniversary of its final season. She painted the picture of a goofy bunch of actors and actresses who added their own flavor to the sitcom's writing. 

"We would add a couple of lines, but they wrote the script,” she said of the writers. "We’d do things like wear stupid hats for an entire scene ‘cause we didn't like the scene so the writers would know during the run-through. ‘Guess they don’t like that one!’ Because to improvise the whole thing, it just takes too long. What we would do is create bits sometimes. I like behavior better than lines. [Williams] can have all the lines for all I care, I’ll find something to do with a plate or a cup or some food. I’m very happy doing bits. How many times can you go to the goddamned refrigerator, you know? So I tried to do bits at the door or by the refrigerator and that’s how milk and Pepsi happened. Let me drink what I drink, at least! It was the exposition.”

Read the full interview here

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