Actress Penny Marshall, best known for Laverne & Shirley, has died aged 75.
Marshall’s publicist said the actress and director passed away in her home in the Hollywood Hills on Monday due to complications from diabetes.
“Our family is heartbroken,” the Marshall family said in a statement. They called her “a tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together and being with her family.”
“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. We hope her life continues to inspire others to spend time with family, work hard and make all of their dreams come true.”
Marshall first appeared as Milwaukee brewery worker Laverne DeFazio in Happy Days alongside Cindy Williams before both were granted their own sitcom. Airing from 1976 to 1983 Laverne & Shirley was among the biggest hits of its era.
Her other TV credits included The Odd Couple playing Myrna from 1972- 1974, The Jackie Gleeson Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Love American Style, Mary Tyler Moore, Love Thy Neighbour, Entourage, Bones, Frasier, Portlandia, Nash Bridges, Murder Police and The Odd Couple reboot.
Marshall also became a notable director making her feature film directorial debut in Jumpin’ Jack Flash, starring Whoopi Goldberg.
She would go on to becom the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $US100 million in 1988’s Big, then A League of Their Own, Awakenings, and The Preacher’s Wife.
Ex husband director Rob Reiner said Marshall was “born with a great gift”.
“She was born with a funny bone and the instinct of how to use it. I was very lucky to have lived with her and her funny bone. I will miss her,” he said on Twitter.
Tom Hanks also tweeted, “Goodbye, Penny. Man, did we laugh a lot! Wish we still could. Love you. Hanx.”
Fellow director and Happy Days star Ron Howard remembered Marshall as a creative talent who had made a major impact on both the film and television industry, all the while staying “relaxed, funny and totally unpretentious.”