Penny Marshall Dead, Actress & Comedian Passed Away At 75

Penny Marshall
Larry Busacca / Getty Images

Actress and comedian Penny Marshall passed away late Monday evening, according to TMZ. Marshall succumbed to complications of diabetes and died in her Hollywood Hills home. A member of Marshall’s family spoke to TMZ and confirmed the actress’s passing and said how the family will miss their puzzle-loving tomboy.

“Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall. Penny was a tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together, and being with her family,” the source told TMZ.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Marshall, who was born in the Bronx, got her big break on the sitcom Happy Days, where she and actress Cindy Williams were such a hit they got their own spinoff, Laverne and Shirley. She also appeared on the Mary Tyler Moore show and The Odd Couple before moving her talents behind the scenes, directing several major hits.

The actress once joked that she couldn’t act, but she could sell a bit. She told the New Yorker in 2012 that it was partly her iconic voice and the way she carried herself that had directors booking her roles.

“I can’t act that well, but I can sell a bit. It’s partly the way I talk, but I’m also good with business — going through my purse, looking for my glasses, lighting a cigarette,” the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Penny Marshall
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Marshall’s debut directorial debut was the 1986 film Jumpin’ Jack Flash, but it was the 1988 movie Big starring Tom Hanks that made Penny a household name when it came to directors. She went on to direct several other films including the cult-classic A League of Their Own and Riding in Cars with Boys, starring Drew Barrymore.

She continued acting throughout her career and had several roles in television and movies, including High Fidelity and Hocus Pocus, which she appeared in with her brother Gary Marshall, who passed away in 2016 due to complications from pneumonia after suffering a stroke.

“I led an oddly charmed life for someone who thought she was not a charming person,” Marshall once observed. Her last acting role was in a 2016 episode of The Odd Couple. Her last directorial stint was in 2011 when she jumped behind the camera once again to film a few episodes of The United States of Tara.

Ten years ago, Marshall underwent treatment for cancer of the lung and brain but had since been in remission. As the Orlando Sentinel reported, a celebration of her life is being planned. She is survived by her sister Ronny, her daughter Tracy, and several grandchildren.