Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Director-Actress Penny Marshall Dead at Age 75, Star of “Laverne and Shirley” Made “Big,” “A League of their Own”


Very sad to report the death of Penny Marshall, at age 75. She was just great. For many years we were very friendly. Twenty years ago this February we fought over a framed Stevie Wonder poster that was in a silent auction at the Rhythm and Blues Pioneer Awards. That’s how we met. (I got it, in the end, but Penny coveted it. I still remember her dancing with the Supremes’ Mary Wilson that night at Sony Culver Studios. We had a ball.) We also shared Carrie Fisher and Lorraine Bracco in common as friends.

Penny loved her brother, Garry, too, and they had a unique history. Penny played Jack Klugman’s hilarious secretary Myrna on “The Odd Couple.” Then Garry spun her off “Happy Days” in “Laverne and Shirley.” From there they each became directors of hit movies. Penny made “Big” with Tom Hanks and “A League of Their Own” with Hanks, Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell, and Madonna. Her other great movie was “Awakenings,” with Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.

That voice! It was famous all over the world. Penny was a real curmudgeon, and so bright, and so much fun. She and Carrie Fisher were really seriously BFFs. It’s hard to believe they’re both gone. And Garry Marshall, too. They were originals, droll, quick, and will never be replaced but always missed.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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