Director & Sitcom Star Penny Marshall Has Died

Photo: ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images.
Big director and Laverne & Shirley star Penny Marshall has died.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Marshall died in her Hollywood Hills home on Monday due to complications from diabetes. She was 75.
In a statement to the LA Times, the Marshall family said they were “heartbroken” over the loss.
Marshall got her start in Hollywood on television in the late ‘60s. In 1972, she joined the cast of The Odd Couple, a sitcom which her brother Garry Marshall had become the executive producer of.
In 1975, her character Laverne joined the series Happy Days, which later led to her friendship-centric spin-off Laverne & Shirley, opposite Cindy Williams. The series ran from 1975 to 1983.
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In addition to a bona fide sitcom legend, Marshall was a prolific director. She helmed several episodes of Laverne & Shirley before moving on to films like Big, Awakenings, A League of Their Own, and Riding In Cars With Boys.
Marshall is often credited with opening doors for women directors. In 1988, Big became the first film directed by a woman to gross over $100 million dollars. In 1992, A League of Their Own also broke that barrier. In 1990, Marshall became the second woman ever to direct a Best Picture nominee with Awakenings.
Of this barrier-breaking, Marshall told IndieWire in 2012:
"I’ve been thanked for opening the door for women directors. I didn’t knock on any doors they asked me. It’s a dog’s job whether you are a guy or a girl."
Marshall’s final directing credit is on the documentary Rodman, about NBA star Dennis Rodman. It is due out in 2019.

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