Cindy Williams of ‘Laverne & Shirley’ dies at 75 – National

Cindy Williams, who was among America’s most recognizable stars in the 1970s and 1980s for her role as Shirley opposite Penny Marshall’s Laverne on the beloved sitcom Laverne and Shirley, is dead. She was 75 years old.

Williams died in Los Angeles on Wednesday after a brief illness, her children, Zak and Emily Hudson, said in a statement released Monday 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.

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Williams worked with some of Hollywood’s most prestigious directors in a film career that preceded his full-time stint in television, appearing in George Cukor in 1972. Travel with my aunt, 1973 by George Lucas american graffiti and Francis Ford Coppola The conversation from 1974.

But she was by far best known for Laverne and Shirleythem Happy Days spin-off that aired on ABC from 1976 to 1983 which, in its heyday, was among the most popular shows on television.

Williams played Marshall’s kinkier Shirley Feeney, kinkier Laverne DeFazio on the show about a pair of blue-collar roommates who worked on the assembly line of a Milwaukee brewery in the 1950s and 1960s.

Penny Marshal, left, and Cindy Williams of the comedy series ‘Laverne & Shirley’ appear at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on September 9, 1979.


“They were beloved characters,” Williams told The Associated Press in 2002.

DeFazio was hot-tempered and defensive; Feeney was naive and confident. The actors drew inspiration from their own lives for plot inspiration.

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“We would make a list at the start of each season of the talent we had,” Marshall told the AP in 2002. “Cindy could touch her tongue to her nose and we used that in the show. I made tapshoes.

Williams told The Associated Press in 2013 that she and Marshall had “very different personalities,” but the stories of the two clashing while making the show were “a bit of a stretch.”

The series was the network’s rare hit on working-class characters, with its empowering opening song: “Give us a chance, we’ll take it, read us any rule, we’ll break it.”

This opening would become as popular 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.

Marshall, whose brother, Garry Marshall, co-created the series, died in 2018.

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Actor Rosario Dawson shared a video of the opening theme on Twitter on Tuesday.

“Singing this song with so much gratitude for you two ladies,” Dawson tweeted. “Absolute gems. United Again…Rest In Heaven Cindy Williams.

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The show also starred Michael McKean and David Lander as Laverne and Shirley’s bizarre hangers – on Lenny and Squiggy. Lander died in 2020.

McKean paid tribute to Williams on Twitter with a memento from the production.

“Behind the Scenes Season 1: I’m offstage waiting for a cue. The script was tough so we’re giving it 110% and the audience is having a great time,” McKean tweeted. “Cindy passes me by for walk in and with a glorious smile, say, ‘Show’s cookin’!” Amen. Thank you, Cindy.

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As the ratings waned during the sixth season, the characters moved from Milwaukee to Burbank, California, trading their brewery jobs for work at a department store.

In 1982, Williams became pregnant and wanted her working hours reduced. When her demands were not met, she walked off the set and filed a lawsuit against her production company. She appeared infrequently in the final season.

Williams was born one of two sisters in the Van Nuys area of ​​Los Angeles in 1947. Her family moved to Dallas shortly after her birth, but returned to Los Angeles, where she began acting while attending the Birmingham High School and majoring in Theater Arts at LA City College.

Her acting career began with small roles on television from 1969, with appearances in Room 222, Nanny and the teacher and Love, American style.

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His role in Lucas american graffiti would become a determining role. The film was a precursor to a nostalgic 1950s and early 1960s boom that was to follow. Happy Days, featuring her american graffiti co-star Ron Howard, would premiere the following year. Laverne and Shirley’s characters first appeared on television as Henry Winkler’s Fonzie dates before getting their own show.

Lucas also considered her for the role of Princess Leia in star warsa role that went to Carrie Fisher.

Over the past three decades, Williams has made guest appearances on dozens of television series, including 7th heaven, 8 simple rules and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2013, she and Marshall appeared in a Laverne and Shirley tribute episode of the Nickelodeon series Sam and cat.

Last year, Williams appeared in a solo show filled with stories from her career, Me, myself and Shirley, at a theater in Palm Springs, Calif., near her home in Desert Hot Springs.

Williams was married to singer Bill Hudson of the musical group The Hudson Brothers from 1982 to 2000. Hudson was the father of her two children. He was previously married to Goldie Hawn and is also the father of actor Kate Hudson.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press


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