Cindy Williams, who played Shirley opposite Penny Marshall’s Laverne in the Laverne and Shirleydied at age 75. Williams died in Los Angeles after a brief illness, his family announced Monday.
“The passing of our kind, funny mother, Cindy Williams, brings us an overwhelming sadness that can never be expressed,” the statement read. “Knowing and loving him is our joy and privilege. She was kind, beautiful, generous and had a great sense of humor and a sparkling spirit that everyone loved. “
A native of Los Angeles, Williams began his career in the early 1970s with roles in TV series room 222, Nanny and the Professor and Love, American Style. He also starred in major films of the time, including George Lucas. American Graffiti and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation.
But his big break came after he and Marshall, after previously working together as writers, were asked by Marshall’s brother Garry to guest star in 1975. Happy Days episode as Shirley Feeney and Laverne De Fazio, two brewery workers who double date with Richie (Ron Howard) and Fonzie (Henry Winkler). Based on the popularity of their appearances in the series, a new spin-off was launched, led by Williams and Marshall.
Laverne and Shirley premiered in 1976 and lasted for eight seasons, although after filming two episodes of Season 8, Williams left the series due to a dispute over her pregnancy. After she left the show, Williams appeared in projects including Lois & Clark: The New Tales of Superman, 7th Heaven, 8 Simple Rules, boyfriend, Drivingand the CBS reboot of The Odd Couple.
Williams was nominated as Best Supporting Actress at BAFTA for her work in American Graffitiand also received a Golden Globe nomination in 1978 for his role in Laverne and Shirley. The latter project remains an iconic part of pop culture, referenced in films and TV shows including Wayne’s World, Phineas and Ferb the Movie, Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Nannyand Angie Tribeca.
He is survived by his two children, Zak and Emily Hudson.