ENTERTAINMENT
19/12/2018 08:29 GMT

Penny Marshall Dead: 'Laverne & Shirley' Star Dies, Aged 75

Bette Midler and Robert De Niro have paid tribute to the actor.

Penny Marshall, who starred in ‘Laverne & Shirley’ before becoming one of the top-grossing female directors in Hollywood, has died at the age of 75.

The sad news was confirmed by Penny’s publicist, Michelle Bega, who she died in her Los Angeles home on Monday, due to complications from diabetes.

‘Laverne & Shirley’ is one of Penny’s best-known roles as she starred alongside Cindy Williams in the hit ABC comedy, which aired from 1976 to 1983.

SIPA USA/PA Images
Penny Marshall 

As a filmmaker, she became the first woman to direct a movie that grossed more than $100 million dollars with ‘Big’, the 1988 comedy starring Tom Hanks.

Tom was among the celebrities paying tribute, writing on Twitter: “Goodbye, Penny. Man, did we laugh a lot! Wish we still could. Love you.”

Marshall also directed ‘A League Of Their Own’, ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ and ‘Awakenings’.

The Marshall family said in a statement: “Our family is heartbroken.”

A Bronx native, Penny became a dedicated Los Angeles Lakers fan and a courtside regular. Her brother Garry Marshall, who died in 2016, was also one of Hollywood’s top comedy directors.

Penny was married to Michael Henry for two years in the 1960s and to the director Rob Reiner from 1971-1981.

Their daughter Tracy Reiner is also n actress; one of her first roles was a brief appearance in her mother’s ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’, which starred Whoopi Goldberg.

Penny is also survived by her older sister, Ronny, and three grandchildren.

Rob paid tribute to his former wife, saying on Twitter: “I loved Penny. I grew up with her. She was born with a great gift.

“She was born with a funnybone and the instinct of how to use it. I was very lucky to have lived with her and her funnybone. I will miss her.”

Robert De Niro, who appeared in Awakenings, said: “Penny will be missed. May she rest in peace.”

Bette Midler also remembered Marshall, saying: “The Marshall family grieves again as the great #PennyMarshall dies at age 75.

“What an extraordinary family they were and continue to be, and how much love and sympathy my family and I send their way. The end of an era.”