Penny Marshall was known around the world for so many different roles — and for her amazing work as a director behind the camera — but others simply knew her as “Laverne.” The world lost a great talent and an inspiring woman on Tuesday, December 18, as Marshall passed away at the age of 75. It is reported that she passed away due to complications from diabetes.
TMZ reported that Marshall died at her Hollywood Hills home on Monday night, but word didn’t quite get out until Tuesday afternoon. Marshall’s publicist, Michelle Bega, did indeed confirm the cause of death for Marshall on Tuesday.
Marshall is the younger sister of late writer, director, and producer Garry Marshall. She was the first wife of actor and director Rob Reiner.
She may have best been known for playing the role of Laverne DeFazio on Laverne & Shirley — which was a spin-off of Happy Days. Laverne & Shirley was on the air for eight seasons, from 1976 to 1983, and really put Marshall on the celebrity map.
From there, she would go on to direct numerous feature films — including A League of Their Own, Big, and Jumping Jack Flash among many others. While her life was in the spotlight for many years, not everyone realized all of the health issues she had dealt with later in life.
Penny Marshall’s death was attributed to complications from diabetes, but she also battled cancer within the last decade.
Back in 2009, Marshall revealed that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer, which ended up metastasizing and spreading to her brain. So, Marshall ended up having to deal with both lung and brain cancer, both of which ended up going into remission two years later.
In an interview with Fox News from 2012, Marshall discussed her health — and the rumors going around about her.
“Well, I had lung cancer and that mesta, whatever that word is (metastasized) on my brain. I felt no pain or anything by the way. The rags said I had liver cancer, I don’t drink! They made up s**t, I’m sorry about my language but I get pissed at these things. But I’m fine now.”
In 2016, Penny lost her brother, Garry, at the age of 81 — while close friend Carrie Fisher died of a heart attack at 60. Radar Online reported that Penny Marshall was so upset at the time, and was falling into a depression, per an anonymous source.
“These two deaths have flattened Penny like a one-two punch.”
Penny Marshall’s life is one that was full of excitement, fun, sadness, and grief — just like so many lives — but hers was shared with the world. On Tuesday, the world lost a great woman — one who had beaten two forms of cancer as well as the loss of many family members and friends.