|Penny Marshall as Laverne, Cindy Williams As Shirley (1976)|
Marshall died peacefully on Monday night in her Hollywood Hills home due to complications from diabetes, Michelle Bega, a spokeswoman for Marshall’s family, told The LA Times on Tuesday.
Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall,” the Marshall family said in a statement.
“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight! Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated,” Marshall and costar Cindy Williams famously chanted as they skipped down the sidewalk in the opening sequence of “Laverne & Shirley.”
A spinoff of “Happy Days,” “Laverne & Shirley” starred Marshall as the feisty Laverne De Fazio and Williams as the idealistic Shirley Feeney, two 1950s working-class roommates who worked on the assembly line at the Shotz Brewery in Milwaukee.
The midseason replacement was launched on ABC in January 1976 and soared to the top of the ratings. Known for its broad physical comedy, it was the No. 1-rated show for the 1977 and ’78 seasons and aired until 1983.
“There were no blue-collar girls on television” when “Laverne & Shirley” debuted, executive producer Garry Marshall, Penny’s brother, once said in an interview for the Archive of American Television. (Garry Marshall died in 2016.)
Viewers, he said, “were dying for somebody that didn’t look like Mary Tyler Moore or all the pretty girls on TV. They wanted somebody who looked like a regular person. And my sister looks like a regular person — talks like a regular person — and Cindy Williams was brilliant as Shirley.”