Penny Marshall Dies at 75

Penny Marshall Dies at 75

Penny Marshall, the endearingly graceless actress with the thick Bronx accent who starred on the TV show Laverne & Shirley before becoming a pioneering film director with hits including Big and A League of Their Own, has died at 75, her publicist said on Tuesday.

"Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall", her family said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

She became the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million with "Big" and her film "A League of Their Own" would be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. "Hanks" reprimand from "A League of Their Own" - "There's no crying in baseball!" - remains quoted on baseball diamonds everywhere. But Laverne and Shirley, who would dance and laugh and play practical jokes on one another, were the kind of almost-grownups you dreamed of being.

Penny Marshall (1943 - 2018) was the star of the popular sitcom, "Laverne and Shirley".

The actress and director died due to complications from diabetes, according to reports.

Numerous tributes focused on Marshall´s unpretentiousness and easy humor, while others highlighted her iconic status among women aspiring to make their way in an industry geared toward men. Marshall also directed "Awakenings" and "The Preacher's Wife".

"I grew up wanting to be as amusing as Penny Marshall, and had the pleasure of meeting her a few times".

Actress and director Regina King thanked Marshall "for blazing trails". Her incredibly impressive body of work isn't always acknowledged for being either as successful nor so insightful as it really is. Yet Penny Marshall was the one who walked in it.

"I must say what I remember most was getting married after a Brigham Young football game", she told the Toronto Globe and Mail, "and all that was on television the whole weekend was John Kennedy's funeral". "It's partly the way I talk, but I'm also good with business - going through my purse, looking for my glasses, lighting a cigarette".

She also sat in the director's chair for 'Awakenings, ' starring the late Robin Williams.

The show became an instant ratings-grabber, running from 1976-83 before its cancellation. While Moore's character Mary Richards was a single, working woman - something that was rare on television - she held the white-collar job of associate producer for a television news program, Laverne and Shirley worked in the traditionally masculine, blue-collar world of beer-making.

And so the actress chose to step behind the camera, an unlikely career move that provided a successful second act to her career. But she made history with her next film, 1998's Big starring Tom Hanks, which had the same budget and earned more than $150 million.

Geena Davis as Dottie in "A League of Their Own".

Seeing a group of women take on baseball and succeed? After directing multiple TV episodes and the Whoopi Goldberg-starring Jumpin' Jack Flash, Marshall helmed the beloved comedy Big, starring Tom Hanks.

In addition to her daughter, Tracy Reiner, Marshall is survived by a sister and three grandchildren.

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