Penny Marshall knew she was dying and was reportedly “ready” to go when she passed away on Monday, December 17. The 75-year-old actor, producer, and film director had her sister, Ronny Marshall Hallin, by her side when she died of complications from diabetes, according to Page Six.
Ronny Hallin told the site the beloved star was “ready” to go and that she died “very peacefully.”
“She always said, ‘I had a great life.’ She was ready. Penny was great — I loved her.”
While Penny Marshall went on to big screen fame as a director on blockbuster films like Big and A League of Their Own, she will forever be remembered as tough-talking Milwaukee brewery bottle capper Laverne DeFazio on the 1970s sitcom Laverne & Shirley. Marshall’s sister said Penny was good with that, revealing her famous sibling once said, “No matter how many movies I direct, I’ll always be Laverne.”
And “it was fine with her,” Hallin added.
Ronny Marshall Hallin is the last surviving Marshall sibling. Penny’s death came just over two years after the death of their older brother Garry Marshall, who passed away at age 81 in July 2016. After Penny Marshall died, her family issued a statement to Closer Weekly, saying they were “heartbroken” over Penny’s passing, and they paid tribute to her iconic career in her obituary.
“Penny was a tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together, and being with her family. Penny was a girl from the Bronx, who came out West, put a cursive ‘L’ on her sweater, and transformed herself into a Hollywood success story. We hope her life continues to inspire others to spend time with family, work hard, and make all of their dreams come true.”
Penny, Ronny, and Garry Marshall were the children of Marjorie, a tap dance instructor, and Tony, a film director and producer, so it is no surprise that they all followed their parents’ footsteps into show business. In fact, all three Marshall siblings worked on Laverne & Shirley. Garry Marshall created the hit show that his sister Penny starred in, while Ronny worked as an associate producer on the sitcom, per IMDB.
Ronny Marshall Hallin also made a guest star appearance on Laverne & Shirley as Maxine in the 1982 episode “The Note.” Hallin also worked as a producer for 88 episodes of Happy Days, the long-running ABC sitcom where her sister’s Laverne DeFazio character was first introduced ahead of the Laverne & Shirley spinoff.
In 2015, Penny, Garry, and Ronny all appeared on Celebrity Family Feud along with Penny’s daughter Tracy Reiner and nephew Scott Marshall. The Marshall family won the game show against the family of talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw, scoring $25,000 for charity. You can see a clip below.