Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley and American Graffiti star, dies at 75

Cindy Williams, the actress finest identified for enjoying Shirley Feeney on the favored sitcom Laverne & Shirley, died Jan. 25 at her house in Los Angeles after a short sickness. She was 75.

A household spokesperson, Liza Cranis, confirmed the information and supplied an announcement from Williams’ kids, Zak and Emily Hudson: “The passing of our form, hilarious mom, Cindy Williams, has introduced us insurmountable disappointment that would by no means actually be expressed. Realizing and loving her has been our pleasure and privilege. She was considered one of a sort, lovely, beneficiant and possessed a superb humorousness and a glittering spirit that everybody liked.”

Williams endeared herself to audiences as a strait-laced brewery bottle-capper on Laverne & Shirley, reverse Penny Marshall as her roommate and finest good friend Laverne De Fazio. The characters had been first launched on Happy Days in 1975 as “certain factor” dates for Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) and Fonzie (Henry Winkler). They had been so in style that Joyful Days creator Garry Marshall launched Laverne & Shirley as a spin-off sequence, which ran from 1976 to 1983 on ABC.

Laverne & Shirley grew to become a success with viewers because of the comedic skills of its two leads and their zany antics. The present was additionally well-known for its theme track and the title characters’ matching monogrammed sweaters.

Cindy Williams in 1985

Cindy Williams in 1985

Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Cindy Williams in 1985

Although Williams was beloved most for the sitcom, she labored throughout tv, movie, and theater. She notably featured in George LucasAmerican Graffiti as Laurie Henderson, highschool sweetheart to Ron Howard’s Steve, and appeared in Francis Ford Coppola‘s The Dialog as Ann, one of many folks whom Gene Hackman‘s surveillance skilled Harry Caul has been employed to spy on.

Cynthia Jane Williams was born Aug. 22, 1947, in Los Angeles. Her household moved to Dallas when she was a yr previous, however they returned to L.A. when she was 10.

Williams was within the performing arts from a younger age, showing in productions at church and her highschool, the place she shared a stage with Sally Field. She studied theater at L.A. Metropolis School earlier than reserving her first TV roles on sequence comparable to Room 222, Nanny and the Professor, and Love, American Model.

Like many actors of her technology, Williams made her movie debut in a Roger Corman manufacturing: GAS-S-S-S, alongside Talia Shire and Ben Vereen. Her breakout function got here reverse Maggie Smith in George Cukor’s Travels With My Aunt.

Williams was reportedly one of many many actresses to audition for the function of Princess Leia in Star Wars.

Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams on 'Laverne & Shirley'

Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams on ‘Laverne & Shirley’

Silver Display screen Assortment/Getty Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams on ‘Laverne & Shirley’

She additionally labored as a comedy author, and it was as a author that she met her longtime display companion Penny Marshall, whereas they had been working at Coppola’s manufacturing firm, American Zoetrope, on a TV particular for the bicentennial. Whereas there, Marshall’s brother, Garry, approached them about showing on Joyful Days.

That finally led to the success of Laverne & Shirley, which at one time was the highest present on tv. Williams left the sequence early in its eighth and last season when she grew to become pregnant along with her first little one.

She returned to TV with the short-lived sitcom Regular Life in 1990 and starred on one other sitcom, Getting By, from 1993 to 1994. She continued to look in visitor roles on such TV sequence as 8 Easy Guidelines, seventh Heaven, The Odd Couple, and Regulation and Order: SVU. In 2013, she reunited with Penny Marshall on Nickelodeon’s Sam & Cat.

After Laverne & Shirley, Williams labored predominantly on stage, showing in lots of nationwide excursions, together with Grease as Miss Lynch, the nationwide tour of Deathtrap reverse Elliot Gould, the feminine model of The Odd Couple with JoAnne Worley, and Metal Magnolias within the function originated by one other Shirley, Shirley MacLaine, as Ouiser Boudreaux.

Williams made her Broadway debut in 2007, taking up because the daffy Mrs. Tottendale in The Drowsy Chaperone. Extra lately she accomplished a nationwide tour of her one-woman present Me, Myself, and Shirley.

She printed a memoir — Shirley, I Jest!, which she co-wrote with Dave Smitherman — in 2015.

Williams was married to Invoice Hudson, of musical trio the Hudson Brothers, from 1982 to 2000. She is survived by their two kids.

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