Penny Marshall has died. The filmmaker, comedian, and star of the 1970s sitcom Laverne and Shirley was found dead at her Hollywood Hills home on Monday night. According to TMZ, Marshall’s cause of death was complications from diabetes. She was 75.
Marshall dealt with a number of health scares during the last decade of her life. In 2010, it was reported that Marshall had been diagnosed with lung cancer that had metastasized to her brain, but she revealed that she was in remission by 2012.
Penny Marshall’s Cause of Death Was Complications from Diabetes
“Well I had lung cancer and that mesta, whatever that word is (metastasized) on my brain,” she told FOX News. “I felt no pain or anything by the way. The rags said I had liver cancer, I don’t drink! They made up sh*t, I’m sorry about my language but I get pissed at these things. But I’m fine now.”
Marshall, the younger sister of Happy Days creator Garry Marshall, rose to fame in the 1970s when she starred in the spinoff series Laverne & Shirley. The series ran from 1976 to 1983, making both her and co-star Cindy Williams household names. When asked why she thinks the series has continued to be popular with viewers, Marshall told FOX it was due to how relatable the premise was.
“We were poor girls,” she explained. “We worked in a brewery. We had to make five bucks to make the rent. That’s what’s going on the country now. We were before our time. So I think it still appeals because we were working class.”
While Laverne remains Marshall’s most indelible role, she did go on to act in popular films like Hocus Pocus (1993), Get Shorty (1995) and High Fidelity (2000). She also was a regular in her brother Garry’s films, appearing in 2011’s New Year’s Eve and narrating his last film, 2016’s Mother’s Day.
Marshall Is Survived By Her Daughter, Actress Tracy Reiner
Some of Marshall’s most beloved work came when she working behind the camera. She made her directorial debut with the 1986 comedy Jumpin’ Jack Flash, before going on to helm a string of critically acclaimed and commercially successful like 1988’s Big, 1990’s Awakenings, and 1992’s A League of Their Own. Her last release as a director was 2001’s Riding In Cars with Boys.
A League of Their Own was eventually chosen for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Marshall was also a producer on the hit 2005 films Bewitched and Cinderella Man.
In her memoir My Mother Was Nuts, Marshall revealed that she had an abortion in the late 1980s. “I was 40 something years old,” she said. “I had a kid already, my womb wasn’t crying out. I talked to my brother. We made the pros and cons. I had a kid already. Joe Pesci offered to be the father. I didn’t want to do that to him. It was more do I want this other person in my life, for the rest of my life.”
Marshall is survived by her daughter Tracy Reiner, whom she had with her first husband Michael Henry and was later adopted by Marshall’s second husband, director Rob Reiner. Tracy is an actress who has appeared in some of her parent’s best known films, including When Harry Met Sally… (1989) and A League of Their Own.