‘Laverne & Shirley’ Actor Cindy Williams Dies At 75
Cindy Williams, who played Shirley opposite Penny Marshall's Laverne on the popular sitcom "Laverne & Shirley," has died, her family said Monday.
Williams died in Los Angeles at age 75 on Wednesday after a brief illness, her children, Zak and Emily Hudson, said in a statement released through family spokeswoman Liza Cranis.
"The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed," the statement said. “Knowing and loving her has been our joy and privilege. She was one of a kind, beautiful, generous and possessed a brilliant sense of humor and a glittering spirit that everyone loved.”
Williams also starred in director George Lucas' 1973 film “American Graffiti” and director Francis Ford Coppola's “The Conversation" from 1974.
But she was by far best known for “Laverne & Shirley," the “Happy Days” spinoff that ran on ABC from 1976 to 1983 that in its prime was among the most popular shows on TV.
Williams played the straitlaced Shirley to Marshall's more libertine Laverne on the show about a pair of roommates that worked at a Milwaukee bottling factory in the 1950s and 60s.
Marshall, whose brother, Garry Marshall, co-created the series, died in 2018.
“Laverne & Shirley” was known almost as much for its opening theme as the show itself. Williams' and Marshall's chant of “schlemiel, schlimazel" as they skipped together became a cultural phenomenon and oft-invoked piece of nostalgia.
Actress Cindy Williams (C) poses with her son Zachary Hudson and daughter Emily Hudson at the ceremony honoring her and actress Penny Marshall each with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 12, 2004 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
Actors Henry Winkler, Penny Marshall, Ed Begley Jr., Cindy Williams and director Garry Marshall pose at the ceremony honoring the two actresses with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 12, 2004 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
Actresses Penny Marshall (L) and Cindy Williams accept their Working Stiff of the Year award for "Laverne & Shirley" during the TV Land Awards 2003 at the Hollywood Palladium on March 2, 2003 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)