Penny Marshall has passed away at 75 due to complications from diabetes. The legendary actress, comedian, and director died last night, December 17, in her Hollywood Hills home.
Penny was born October 15, 1943 in Bronx, NY. Her family said in a statement, “Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall. Penny was a tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together and being with her family.”
She first rose to prominence as Laverne on the hit sitcom Laverne and Shirley. She starred in the show with Cindy Williams as two blue collar women who worked at a bottle cap factory.
“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,” her family noted. “She was a comedic natural with a photographic memory and an instinct for slapstick.”
Then, she became a successful film director. Her highest grossing film was 1988’s Big, starring Tom Hanks. She became the first woman to direct a movie that earned more than $100 million and the project launched Tom into superstardom.
Her movies earned over $601 million combined at the domestic box office. Notably, she gave Mark Wahlberg his first role.
Penny was previously married to director Rob Reiner. They divorced in 1979. She’s survived by older sister Ronny, daughter Tracy, and three grandchildren, Spencer, Bella and Viva.