Penny Marshall, a celebrated actress and director, passed away December 17, 2018, after suffering complications from diabetes. She was born October 15, 1943, in the Bronx, New York. Her parents were Anthony W. Marshall and Marjorie Irene Ward Marshall.
The entire family was involved in the entertainment industry. Tony Marshall was a film director and producer. Marjorie was a tap dance teacher and actress.
Here’s what you need to know about Penny Marshall’s parents.
1. Anthony & Marjorie Were Both New York Natives
Marjorie Irene Ward was born February 1, 1908, in New York City, according to IMDB. Her family lineage reportedly included German, English and Scottish heritage.
Her husband was also a New York native. Anthony W. Marshall was born March 29, 1906. His family was of Italian descent.
Penny’s father changed the family name before she was born. Anthony’s last name at birth was Masciarelli. The couple raised its three children, Garry, Ronny, and Penny, in the Bronx.
Marjorie died on December 22, 1983, in Los Angeles. Anthony passed away July 12, 1999, in Toluca Lake, California.
2. The Marshall Family Was Not Religious & Each of the Three Children Was Baptized in a Different Christian Church
Penny Marshall published a memoir called “My Mother Was Nuts” in 2012. In the book, she explained that the Marshall family was not religious.
She talked about that background in an interview with the Huffington Post at the time. She shared that older brother Garry was baptized in an Episcopalian church. Sister Ronny was christened in a Luthern church. And Penny was confirmed in a Congregationalist church.
Marshall explained in the book that her mother took the children wherever space was available. “My mother sent us anyplace that had a hall where she could put on a recital.”
3. Marjorie Marshall Taught Tap Dance & Penny Wrote That Her Mother Used Dance as an Escape From an Unhappy Marriage
Penny Marshall shared in her 2012 memoir that her parents’ marriage had not been a happy one. She explained that her mother relied on a love of dance for happiness. Marjorie ran a dance school that bore her name, and Penny performed recitals at the school.
Marshall told the Hollywood Reporter during a 2012 interview, “I think everyone’s mother is slightly nuts. But she lived at that dancing school, and it saved her life. It gave her something to do that she loved when she had a bad marriage, and I got the brunt of that. But they never got divorced. Back in that day, divorce was unpopular.”
Marjorie was apparently not known for her ability to give praise. Penny wrote in the memoir that she had been an unexpected pregnancy. Marjorie told her that she had nearly miscarried while pregnant with Penny. She told her daughter, “You were a miscarriage, but you were stubborn and held on.”
According to her profile on IMDB, Marjorie reportedly chose her children’s names for a specific reason. She apparently wanted them to have names that ended in “Y” because “‘they were ‘happy names’ that you had to smile to say them.”
4. Anthony Marshall Began His Career in Advertising Before Producing Some of the Most Popular Sitcoms on Television
Anthony W. Marshall graduated from New York University, according to his 1999 obituary in the New York Times. He began his career in advertising.
Marshall ran his own company called the Marshall Organization in the 1940s and 1950s, according to an obit in Variety. The company produced radio and TV ads focused on public relations. Variety also wrote that the company produced “award-winning industrial films.”
5. Anthony & Marjorie Marshall Moved to Los Angeles in 1969 & Began Working With Their Children
The family relocated to Los Angeles in 1969. The workplace became a family affair involving Anthony, Marjorie and all three of their adult children.
Anthony Marshall served as an associate producer on “The Odd Couple.” Son Garry was the executive producer. Penny joined the cast in 1971 as a secretary named Myrna Turner. Marjorie made appearances on the show as character Irene Langley.
As explained in Anthony Marshall’s New York Times obituary, the Marshall family ran the Henderson Production Company. The company was credited for hit shows including “The Odd Couple,” “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley.”
Penny Marshall portrayed Laverne on the popular sitcom from 1976 through 1983. Marjorie guest starred as Mrs. Ward in a 1978 episode. Ronny Marshall Hallin served as an associate producer for at least four episodes, according to her IMDB bio. Garry Marshall created the show and Anthony Marshall served as a producer.