RIP Penny Marshall

Penny Marshall has died. According to reports, the 75-year-old succumbed to complications from diabetes on Monday night at her home in the Hollywood Hills. 

Marshall’s initial success came on the heels of her brother, Garry Marshall. He cast her in her first recurring role on “The Odd Couple” as Myrna Turner. She also appeared in “Happy Days” with Cindy Williams. The two teamed up for the spin-off, “Laverne & Shirley.” The show started in 1976 and ran for eight seasons - it's largely considered the most successful spin-off in television history.

Of course, Marshall later moved into directing - finding success with films including “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Big,” “A League of Their Own,” "Riding In Cars With Boys," and “Awakenings.” “Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall,” her family says in a statement. “Penny was a tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together, and being with her family.” 

The diehard Los Angeles Laker and New York Yankee fan holds several distinctions. Among them, “Big” was the first film directed by a woman EVER to gross over a hundred million dollars. She also gave Mark Wahlberg his first acting gig in “Renaissance Man.” One of her closest friends was the late Carrie Fisher, with whom she shared a birthday. She was also godmother to Carrie's daughter, Billie Lourd.

Married twice - once to director Rob Reiner - she is survived her daughter, Tracy Reiner (you might recall her as played Betty Spaghetti in "A League of Their Own"). Tracy was from her first marriage, but Rob adopted her and gave her his name.

Marshall died in Los Angeles from complications of diabetes on December 17, 2018, at the age of 75.  Following Marshall's passing, her ex-husband Rob Reiner took to Twitter to say: "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". Ron Howard, her onetime co-star, and like her an actor who went on to become a celebrated film director, stated on Twitter, "She was funny & so smart. She made the transition from sitcom star to A List movie director with ease & had a major impact on both mediums. All that & always relaxed, funny & totally unpretentious. I was lucky to have known & worked with her."

Major League Baseball tweeted the following statement: "We join the baseball community in mourning the passing of Penny Marshall, director of A League of Their Own."

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