Cindy Williams, ‘Laverne & Shirley’ actress, dies at 75
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cindy Williams, who played Shirley opposite Penny Marshall’s Laverne on the popular sitcom “Laverne & Shirley,” has died, her family announced Monday.
Williams died in Los Angeles at the age of 75 on Wednesday after a brief illness, her children, Zak and Emily Hudson, said in a statement released by family spokeswoman Liza Cranis.
“The passing of our lovable and hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us an insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed,” the statement read. “Knowing and loving her has been our joy and our privilege. She was one of a kind, beautiful, generous, and had a brilliant sense of humor and a sparkling wit that everyone loved.
Williams also starred in director George Lucas’ 1973 film “American Graffiti” and director Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 “The Conversation.”
But she was by far best known for “Laverne & Shirley,” the “Happy Days” spin-off that aired on ABC from 1976 to 1983 and, at its peak, was among the most popular shows on television.
Williams played the tight Shirley to Marshall’s more libertine Laverne on the show about a pair of roommates who worked at a Milwaukee bottling plant in the 1950s and 1960s.
Marshall, whose brother, Garry Marshall, co-created the series, died in 2018. Eddie Mekka, known for his role as Carmine in “Laverne & Shirley” died in 2021.
“Laverne & Shirley” was almost as well known for its opening theme as the show itself. Williams and Marshall’s chanting “schlemiel, schlimazel” as they jumped together has become a cultural phenomenon and an often invoked piece of nostalgia.
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