The ‘Laverne & Shirley’ star was 75

Cindy Williams, who played Shirley opposite Penny Marshall’s Laverne on the popular 1970s sitcom “Laverne & Shirley,” has died, her family said Monday.

Williams died in Los Angeles at the age of 75 on Jan. 25 after a short illness, her sons, Zack and Emily Hudson, said in a statement released by family spokeswoman Lisa Kranes.

“The passing of our hilarious good mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us an indomitable grief that can never be truly expressed,” the statement said. “Knowing and loving us was our joy and our privilege. She was so unique, beautiful, generous, and had a wonderful sense of humor and a sparkling spirit that everyone loved.”

Williams also starred in George Lucas’ 1973 “American Graffiti” — a role that earned her a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress — and Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974’s “The Conversation.”

But best known for its ratings hit Laverne & Shirley, Happy Days ran on ABC from 1976 to 1983 and was, at its inception, among the most popular shows on television.

Penny Marshall (left) and Cindy Williams starred in a movie
Penny Marshall (left) and Cindy Williams starred in the “Happy Days” spin-off “Laverne & Shirley.”
© ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

Betty Jarrett, Eddie McCabe, Penny Marshall, and Cindy Williams appear on an episode of
Betty Jarrett, Eddie Mica, Penny Marshall, and Cindy Williams appear in an episode of “Laverne & Shirley”.
Courtesy Everett Collection

Golden Globe nominee Williams played Shirley straitjacketed to Marshall’s freer Laverne in the show, which portrayed roommates who were blue-collar workers at a Milwaukee bottling plant in the 1950s and 1960s.

Williams, we had some kind of telepathy. He said about working with Marshall in a 2013 interview Television Academy Foundation. “If we went into a room together and if there was something unique in the room, we would see it at the same time and have the same comment about it. We’ve always been like that.”

Creator Garry Marshall—brother of Benny, who passed away in 2016—discovered a place he was ready to explore.

“There are no shows about blue-collar girls on the air,” he said he said in a 2000 interview with the Television Academy. And remember how he sold the concept to Fred Silverman, then ABC.

He said, “It works! Marshall remembers. I said, ‘Laverne and Shirley. “Good, I love him!”

Paul Le Matt, Cindy Williams
Paul Le Matt, “Happy Days” star Cindy Williams Ron Howard in a scene from the 1973 classic “American Graffiti.”
Courtesy Everett Collection

Williams and Penny Marshall, who He passed away in 2018 At 75, he was very involved with the show’s quality, even doing some rewrites themselves.

“We did a real test, which was whether the script made Benny and me laugh out loud. That’s what we were going for…to make the studio audience laugh out loud, and then figure out it would translate to the audience at home,” Williams He said once in a interview. So, if it made us laugh out loud in rehearsal, then we knew it was good to go. When it didn’t, we’d rewrite it, or try to fit things in to make it funny. Once the show is on its feet and we start moving, we add things and add lines and an ad. The entire cast.”

She also marveled at what the show got away with in its humor—his censorship as a born-again Christian, according to California-born Williams.

“Great guy, but he wouldn’t let us say things, so he made the show even better, because he made us have to come up with words and phrases about those limitations,” he said in a 2021 interview. “We couldn’t just point to certain words for our smutty humor. We had to resort to what I would call a campy church humor.

We were replacing the word [sex] she added, referring to the made-up phrase common in the show for physical actions. “We always thought our born-again Christian sensor made Laverne & Shirley more interesting, because it has a clean sense of humor, which everyone really enjoys whether they know it or not.”

“Laverne & Shirley” has been known almost as much for its opening theme as the show itself. Williams and Benny’s chant of “Schlemmel, Schlemazell” as they skipped together became a cultural phenomenon and a piece of nostalgia.

Cindy Williams appears at the 2019 Nostalgia Conference in Anaheim, California.
Cindy Williams appears at the 2019 Nostalgia Conference in Anaheim, California.
Getty Images

During her career, Williams has appeared in several well-known TV series and made-for-TV movies, including “Lois & Clark: The Adventures of Superman,” “Touched By an Angel,” “7th Heaven,” “CHiPs,” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, “Police Story,” “Cannonball,” “Love, American Style,” “Room 222” and “Hawaii Five-0.”

She reportedly auditioned for the role of Princess Leia in George Lucas’ sci-fi classic Star Wars in 1977, but the role went to Carrie Fisher.

“It can all be achieved, but you always have to stay yourself. You have to keep your sense of humor,” she said of the highs and lows of her career in the TV Party interview. “If you fall down, you have to get back up and keep it up.”

Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall in a photo
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall in the ‘Laverne & Shirley’ reunion in 1995.
© ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

Williams became pregnant and subsequently only appeared in two episodes during the final season of “Laverne & Shirley”. In 1982, she ended up suing Paramount for $20 million. to me Hollywood Reporter, for full season pay. She settled for an undisclosed amount leaving Penny Marshall to star solo until the end of the show.

to me its official websiteShe has also hit the boards and toured with stage productions including “Grease”, “Deathtrap” (featuring Elliot Gould), and “Steel Magnolias”. She made her Broadway debut in 2007 in the musical ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’, which won five Tony Awards.

Williams was married to Bill Hudson of the famous Hudson Brothers from 1982 until their divorce in 2000.

With Postal services.

Leave a Comment