Penny Marshall’s Daughter Tracy Reiner Was Her ‘Favorite Mistake,’ The Actress Once Wrote

Rob Reiner (R) and daugher Tracy Reiner arrive at the 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

The world is mourning the loss of entertainment icon Penny Marshall on Tuesday, after reports emerged indicating that she had passed away. As many look back on her most memorable roles and projects, others are taking some time to reflect on her personal life, as well. Penny leaves behind one daughter, Tracy Reiner, and she once wrote about how getting pregnant with Tracy was her “favorite mistake.”

Penny Marshall opened up — via a piece in Newsweek back in September 2012 — about having Tracy when she was young. Penny wrote about how she left the Bronx to go to college in New Mexico, and ended up pregnant during her sophomore year. Marshall noted that she had only been intimate once before, and that she hadn’t thought too far ahead when getting close with football player Michael “Mickey” Henry at that time.

Soon, Penny found out that she was pregnant at the age of 19. Marshall noted that nobody really talked about birth control back in 1963 when she got pregnant, and after tossing around a few ideas, she ended up marrying Henry. The two were young — and broke — and she soon quit school to enter the workforce. A few months later, they welcomed Tracy — and they managed to make things work for a while.

Eventually, Penny and Mickey went their separate ways. She met future husband Rob Reiner in 1971, after a guest-starring gig on The Odd Couple. Penny and Rob were married from 1971 to 1979, and during that time, he officially adopted Tracy — and she took his last name.

“What I thought was a major, life-changing mistake that could have given me a scarlet A ended up giving me a wonderful family.”

Tracy tends to keep a much lower profile than her mother, Penny, ever did. However, she has worked in the entertainment industry as well. Her IMDb page notes that she has worked as both an actress and as a producer. Tracy Reiner has been connected to hits like A League of Their Own, Pretty Woman, Apollo 13, Masque of the Red Death, and Die Hard.

Penny’s daughter popped up in several guest-starring gigs on Laverne & Shirley back in the day, and Tracy consistently landed small roles in numerous movies throughout the 80s and 90s. While Tracy Reiner has done a handful of projects since then, she also has shifted a lot of her focus to raising a family.

Reiner had one son when she, herself, was fairly young — and she later married Matthew Theodore Conlan. Now, Tracy and Matt have a family of five children, including her son from the prior relationship. Tracy is now 54-years-old, and she reportedly lives with her family in Los Angeles.

While Reiner has a lengthy list of accomplishments in the entertainment industry, it appears that she has very little social media presence. So far, Tracy Reiner has not yet spoken publicly about the death of her mother. Fans of Penny Marshall are sending their love and prayers to Tracy, and to Penny’s entire extended family, in the wake of the news that Marshall has passed.