Penny Marshall (born October 15, 1943-died December 17, 2018) was an American actress, writer, and producer. She got her acting break as Laverne DeFazio in the ABC-TV sitcom series Laverne & Shirley (co-created by her brother, Garry Marshall). She's also directed four episodes of Laverne & Shirley; Season 4's "Squiggy in Love" (episode #20), Season 5's "The Duke of Squiggman" (episode #23), Season 6's "The Dating Game" (episode #6), and "But Seriously, Folks..." (episode #14).


Branching out into directing and producing, Penny has directed box-office blockbuster films such as Big (1988, starring Tom Hanks), the first film directed by a woman to gross in excess of $100 million at the U.S. box office; Awakenings (1990, starring Robin Williams), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture; and A League of Their Own (1992). She also produced Cinderella Man (2005) and Bewitched (2005), as well as several episodes of According to Jim (2009).

In 1975, after playing several supporting roles on television, Penny was cast as Laverne DeFazio for a guest appearance in the episode of Happy Days titled "A Date with Fonzie". Her performance was well received, prompting a spinoff sitcom which turned into the Garry Marshall produced Laverne & Shirley with Cindy Williams, who played her best friend and roommate Shirley Feeney. (She would later reunite with Cindy on a November 2013 episode of Sam & Cat.[1][2][3] ) Marshall would play the role of Laverne for the show's entire run from 1976 until 1983.

Penny was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her performance three times.[4]


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