December 19, 2018
Cindy Williams Calls Penny Marshall's Death An 'Extraordinary Loss'

Cindy Williams -- best known as one half of the iconic duo she created alongside the late Penny Marshall, Laverne & Shirley-- has broken her silence regarding the death of her friend of over 42 years.

She paid a touching public tribute to her late co-star this week after Marshall's passing.

"What an extraordinary loss. My good friend, Penny Marshall is gone -- one in a million," she told Today in a statement.

"Utterly unique, a truly great talent. And, oh what fun we had! Can't describe how I'll miss her."

The two actresses originated their now-iconic roles of good-girl Shirley Feeney and tough-as-nails Laverne DiFazio on the then-ABC hit Happy Days. That show was created by Penny's brother, Garry Marshall, who died in 2016. The two were guest-stars on the show, playing dates to Ron Howard's Richie Cunningham and Henry Winkler's Arthur Fonzarelli.

They subsequently scored their own ABC spin-off, which went on to be a great success -- with several Golden Globe nominations.

Williams left the show during production for what would ultimately be the eighth and final season, and the women remained "all-time great" friends. Williams left the show before its run ended, in 1982. She'd become pregnant, and was in the process of signing her latest contract when she learned she'd have to turn up for work on her due date.

Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams received their stars on the walk of fame the same day.
Getty Images | Vince Bucci

"I'm there for her whenever she needs me," Williams once said in an interview about her friendship with Marshall, via YouTube.

"You have a history with each other. It's like a family... It's very unique. She's like a witness to my life," Williams added of their relationship.

The actresses reunited on the small screen in 2013 for a one-off episode of the short-lived Nickelodeon children's series Sam & Cat, which starred Jenette McCurdy and Ariana Grande.

Marshall's character met with Sam (Jennette McCurdy) to discuss a meeting with her nemesis, her former "Salmon Cat" partner (Cindy Williams).

Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams appeared on Nickelodeon's Sam & Cat alongside Jenette McCurdy and Ariana Grande.
Getty Images for Nickelodeon | Araya Diaz

In the episode, Sam (McCurdy) and Cat (Ariana Grande) are ordered to rename their babysitting business because it's too similar to "Salmon Cat," a TV show from the 1970s. Sam and Cat must track down the show's two original creators (played by Marshall and Williams) and resolve their three decade-long feuds.

Marshall passed away "peacefully" on Monday night at her Hollywood Hills home, following complications from diabetes. She was 75 years old.

"Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall," a spokesperson for the star's family told E! News in a statement regarding her death.

A celebration of life ceremony for Marshall will be held at a later date.