Penny marshall married

Penny Marshall, ‘Laverne & Shirley’ Star Turned Director, Dies at 75

She starred for eight seasons on the ABC ratings hit, created by her late brother Garry Marshall, and directed such films as ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’ and ‘Awakenings.’

Penny Marshall, the nasally, good-natured Bronx native who starred on the ABC ratings sensation Laverne & Shirley before shattering records as a top-grossing female director in Hollywood, has died. She was 75.

The younger sister of the late writer-director-producer Garry Marshall and the first wife of actor-director Rob Reiner, Marshall died in her Hollywood Hills home on Monday night from complications from diabetes, her publicist Michelle Bega told The Hollywood Reporter. She was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer in 2009.

Marshall earned fame — but, incredibly not even one Emmy nomination — for playing the wisecracking Laverne DeFazio on the Happy Days spinoff created by her brother. Laverne & Shirley, which aired for eight seasons from 1976 to ’83, centered on the escapades of two romantically challenged Milwaukee brewery workers, with Cindy Williams co-starring as Marshall’s idealistic roommate, Shirley Feeney.

Marshall had directed a handful of episodes of the sitcom before she was approached to step in as a last-minute replacement for Howard Zieff to helm the feature comedy Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1986), starring Whoopi Goldberg.

She hit comedic pay dirt with her next film, Big (1988), the Tom Hanks starrer about a boy who wakes up in the body of an adult. Co-produced by James L. Brooks, who brought the script to Marshall, it was the first film directed by a woman to gross more than $100 million (about $198 million in today’s dollars) domestically.

Another Marshall comedy, A League of Their Own (1992) — a fictional account about the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League organized during World War II that also starred Hanks (as well as Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell and Madonna) — broke through the $100 million barrier as well.

In between those films, the director dramatically changed course with the based-on-a-true-story Awakenings (1990), starring Robert De Niro as a middle-aged man who has been catatonic for 30 years and Robin Williams as a painfully shy doctor determined to “awaken” him. For Awakenings, Marshall became the second woman ever to helm a best picture Oscar nominee. She also is one of only seven to achieve that without landing a director nom as well.

“I had friends who said, ‘Why do you want to be in a hospital for four months?’ I said, ‘I was depressed in a toy store, what difference does it make?'” Marshall told the Los Angeles Times in 1990. “I’m a depressed person. People said it was so brave to do a drama. I didn’t think it was bravery. I figured I had an excuse: If it didn’t work, I could say, ‘Well, that’s not my strength.'”

Carole Penny Marshall, named after actress Carole Lombard, was born Oct. 15, 1943. Her family lived on the Grand Concourse, a major thoroughfare in the Bronx. Her father, Anthony, made industrial films, and her mother, Marjorie, was a dance instructor who taught her youngest kid how to tap.

Marshall often noted that Garry, 10 years older than she, and her sister Ronny, six years her senior, were planned, while she was a mistake. As a teenager, her mother told her, “You were a miscarriage, but you were stubborn and held on.” Her parents did not get along with each other.

(Garry died of complications from a stroke on July 19, 2016. He was 81.)

Following high school, she fled to the University of New Mexico to study psychology, got married in 1961, dropped out and had a daughter, Tracy, her only child (who later was adopted by Reiner). Divorced after two years, Marshall supported herself with an array of jobs, including a stint as a choreographer for the Albuquerque Civic Light Opera Association, before heading to Los Angeles in 1967.

“I didn’t know my brother that well,” she told Tavis Smiley in a 2012 interview. “So I went and said, ‘Let me go meet him.’ He was doing well. He was writing for Dick Van Dyke and Joey Bishop and every show, so why not meet him?

Supporting herself as a secretary while studying acting, she appeared in commercials. Her first was a Head & Shoulders spot opposite the gorgeous, blond and then-unknown Farrah Fawcett; Marshall played her plain roommate.

After appearing on such shows as That Girl and Love, American Style, Marshall and Reiner — mere months before they were to marry — auditioned for a new CBS sitcom. But while Reiner was cast as Michael Stivic, it was Sally Struthers who ended up playing his wife, Gloria, on All in the Family.

Marshall, though, soon joined her brother’s ABC comedy The Odd Couple as Oscar Madison’s flighty secretary, Myrna Turner. It was Jack Klugman, who played Oscar the sloppy sportswriter, who insisted she get the job.

Guest stints on such series as The Bob Newhart Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show and a regular role on the short-lived sitcom Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers (created by Brooks and Allan Burns) followed.

In 1975, she and Cindy Williams — who had met on a double date years earlier during a Liza Minnelli performance at L.A.’s Ambassador Hotel — were working on a satire for Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope magazine when Garry Marshall hired them for an episode of Happy Days.

Portraying “fast girls” recruited by Fonzie (Henry Winkler) for a double date with Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard), the two displayed an immediate comic rapport. So when ABC entertainment chief Fred Silverman asked the Happy Days creator if he had any ideas for a new show, he mentioned one starring his sister and Williams as Milwaukee’s best.

“People were dying for someone that didn’t look like Mary Tyler Moore, a regular person,” he added. “My sister looks like a regular person, talks like a regular person.”

The series, from Paramount Television, started out with the ladies living in a basement apartment and working as bottle cappers for the Schotz brewery in the 1950s. Marshall quaffed milk mixed with Pepsi and sported sweaters with a large, loopy “L” on them, and she and Williams performed physical shenanigans not seen since the days of I Love Lucy.

“We had a 60 share. That doesn’t happen except for the Academy Awards or things like that, like the Super Bowl,” Marshall told The Huffington Post in May 2013. “We beat out Jesus once, I remember that. It was Easter.”

In mid-1979, Laverne & Shirley was sold into syndication for a record price, estimated to be $50,000 an episode.

In 1982, Williams sued Paramount for $20 million in a dispute over wanting to get paid while missing episodes because she was pregnant. After a settlement, she was written out of the series, and Laverne & Shirley wrapped after 178 episodes in May 1983 with only one Emmy nom ever — for costume design.

In 1978, Marshall starred opposite Reiner in the ABC telefilm More Than Friends, co-written by Reiner and based on the early days of their courtship. (Earlier, Reiner had played her fiance, named Sheldn (they forgot the “o” on his birth certificate, as the gag went), on The Odd Couple.

She and Reiner split up in 1979; afterward, she had a long romance with singer Art Garfunkel.

Marshall also had a minor role in the 1979 comedy 1941, directed by Steven Spielberg, and she did a cameo as a director in the 1995 movie adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s Hollywood satire Get Shorty!

After A League of Their Own, Marshall directed Renaissance Man (1994), toplined by Danny DeVito and featuring Mark Wahlberg in his film debut; The Preacher’s Wife (1996), with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston in what she once called “the first black Christmas movie”; and the Drew Barrymore starrer Riding in Cars With Boys (2001).

More recently, Marshall directed a couple of episodes of Showtime’s United States of Tara and appeared on IFC’s Portlandia (series star Fred Armisen hilariously impersonated her to promote her sassy 2012 memoir, My Mother Was Nuts) and the Fox sitcom Mulaney.

Marshall was one of Hollywood’s most fervent Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers fans. She regularly was seen courtside at the Forum, the Sports Arena and then Staples Center, with her trademark tinted glasses perched precariously on her nose.

Her daughter played left fielder Betty Spaghetti in A League of Their Own.

Duane Byrge contributed to this report.

Rob Reiner Remembers Ex-Wife Penny Marshall After Her Death at 75: ‘So Sad’

When news broke on Tuesday that actress and director Penny Marshall had died the night before in her Hollywood Hills home from diabetes complications, Hollywood mourned.

From lead roles in Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy and The Odd Couple, to her work behind the scenes as the director of A League of Their Own, Big and Riding in Cars with Boys, Marshall had a presence in Hollywood for more than five decades. And early on, Marshall paired off with another Hollywood powerhouse when she married Rob Reiner in 1971.

RELATED: Penny Marshall, Who Died at 75, Broke Barriers as a Female Director: A Look at Her Biggest Hits

She and the legendary actor, director and producer were married for 10 years and Reiner adopted Marshall’s daughter Tracy. They have three grandchildren together.

Upon learning about his ex-wife’s death, Reiner, 71, first tweeted, “So sad about Penny.”

So sad about Penny.

— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) December 18, 2018

Minutes later, the Oscar nominee wrote about how lucky he was to have spent time with her.

Image zoom Ron Galella/WireImage Image zoom The pair in New York circa 1970. Art Zelin/Getty

“I loved Penny,” he wrote. “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.”

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.

— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) December 18, 2018

Though they married in 1971, Reiner and Marshall were in close proximity before that.

“We grew up across the street in the Bronx but didn’t know each other,” she told PEOPLE in 2012. “I loved him dearly.”

She added in her 2014 memoir My Mother Was Nuts, “It was a very wide street.”

Image zoom Marshall and Reiner in More Than Friends in 1978. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Marshall and Reiner auditioned for All in the Family, but it was Sally Struthers who ended up playing his wife. They ended up meeting during Marshall’s 1971 appearance on The Odd Couple and worked together again on 1978’s More Than Friends, a dramedy about two childhood friends from the Bronx who enter a romantic relationship. The next year, they split.

RELATED: Elizabeth Banks, Rosie O’Donnell and More React to Penny Marshall’s Death at 75: ‘I Loved Her’

Reiner was Marshall’s second husband; she was married to athlete Michael Henry from 1961-63, with whom she had Tracy.

  • By Dana Rose Falcone

Penny Marshall was best known for playing Laverne DeFazio on the ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley, but she also made headlines for her high-profile marriage to Rob Reiner. Marshall, who passed away on December 17 at age 75, was married to Reiner for 10 years — thick in the middle of their successful 1970s sitcom runs — according to Variety.

Before either one of them became famous, Penny Marshall married Rob Reiner in 1971, when he was 23 and she was 27. They divorced in 1981.

The future superstars grew up across the street from one another in the Bronx, though they’d never met.

“It was a very wide street,” Penny told CNN.

Fast forward to Hollywood, where Rob Reiner played Archie Bunker’s son-in-law, Mike “Meathead” Stivic, on All in the Family. Penny Marshall’s character of Laverne, meanwhile, was introduced on a 1976 episode of ABC’s Happy Days— as Fonzie’s (Henry Winkler) date — just before the Laverne & Shirley spinoff debuted with co-star Cindy Williams. In a funny twist, Penny Marshall was actually considered for the role of Gloria Bunker Stivic on the CBS comedy, before Sally Struthers was cast on the show.

Rob Reiner was Penny Marshall’s second husband, but he adopted her daughter, Tracy, from her marriage to Michael Henry. He also gave Tracy the Reiner last name. In 2012, Marshall joked to Newsweek, “I married Rob Reiner, so Tracy came to stay with us — she said we had more TV channels.”

RIP Penny Marshall

— Variety (@Variety) December 18, 2018

After Penny Marshall’s death was announced, Ron Reiner took to Twitter to post that he was very sad to hear about her passing. Reiner also wrote that his ex-wife “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,” Reiner wrote.

So sad about Penny.

— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) December 18, 2018

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.

— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) December 18, 2018

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Penny Marshall revealed that she stayed on good terms with Rob Reiner after their 1981 divorce. She also explained that she stayed in the marriage long enough to know when it was time to call it quits.

“It’s still sad that Rob and I didn’t work it out, but he’s happily married with three kids — my grandson went to school with his kids, two of his boys,” Marshall said. “I stay in things a long time to make sure it’s over. It’s not, ‘Okay, we had a fight.’ No, I wait ’til way past ‘It’s over’ to make sure it’s just not a mood or something going on. It wasn’t like we were fighting, it’s just, things are going a different way, you know? I don’t like confrontation much; I’m not a big arguer.”

Rob Reiner is mourning the loss of his ex-wife, Penny Marshall. The 71-year-old actor took to Twitter on Tuesday to remember Marshall.

“So sad about Penny,” he tweeted.

“I loved Penny,” he wrote next. “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.”

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.

— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) December 18, 2018

Reiner and Marshall married in 1971 after meeting during Marshall’s 1971 appearance on The Odd Couple. Reiner adopted Marshall’s daughter, Tracy, whom she had during a previous marriage to athlete Michael Henry. Reiner and Marshall divorced in 1981.

The two auditioned for All in the Family, but Sally Struthers ended up playing Reiner’s character’s wife. The couple worked together on 1978’s More Than Friends, a dramedy about two childhood friends from the Bronx who enter a romantic relationship. Oddly enough, Reiner and Marshall grew up across the street from each other in the Bronx, although they didn’t meet until much later in life.

“When Rob Reiner and I were children, we lived across the street from each other. We never met because the Grand Concourse was a busy street, and we were too young to cross it,” Marshall told The Post in 2012.

(Photo: Ron Galella / Contributor, Getty)

“He went to PS 8, I went to 80. He moved when he was 7. His father, Carl, was one of the stars on Your Show of Shows, and he was the most famous person in the neighborhood. He was also known for giving out the best Halloween candy,” she said.

Reiner was joined by countless others in Hollywood mourning the loss. The likes of Tom Hanks, Reese Witherspoon and Mark Wahlberg all paid tribute to the legendary actress, producer and director.

Marshall died Monday at her California home from complications relating to diabetes, her family and publicist said. She was 75.

“Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall,” her family said in a statement to TMZ. “Penny was a tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together and being with her family.”


Best known for starring in the Happy Days spinoff Laverne & Shirley, she also broke barriers behind the scenes, becoming the first woman to direct a movie that grossed over $100 million with 1988’s Big.

Marshall is survived by older sister Ronny, her daughter, Tracy, and three grandchildren.

Penny Marshall, who has died aged 75, was a rarity: a successful female film-maker in Hollywood. Her delightful comedy Big (1988), starring Tom Hanks, became the first film by a female director to gross more than $100m. Though it was the fifth body-swap movie to emerge in the space of a year, its success was richly deserved.

The plot, about a boy whose wish to be a grown-up comes true, could have been tasteless in other hands. There is, after all, a tentative romance between this child in an adult’s body (Hanks) and his colleague (Elizabeth Perkins) at the toy company where his natural naivety has landed him a job – though when she stays the night and he announces “I get to be on top!”, he is referring only to the bunk-bed arrangements. But Marshall’s light touch, and the appealingly puppyish performance she coaxed from Hanks, ensured the charm rarely waned.

The box-office triumph of Big was repeated with A League of Their Own (1992), in which Hanks played the manager of a women’s baseball team; Madonna and Geena Davis also starred. “Unfortunately everyone’s cycle synched up,” said Marshall. “The mood swings – that poor crew!”

In between, she made Awakenings (1990), based on the book of the same name in which the neurologist Oliver Sacks detailed his work with catatonic sufferers of “sleeping sickness”, or encephalitis lethargica. Though this film, too, was a hit, it was manipulative, simplistic and cloying, and showed its stars, Robin Williams (as the doctor) and Robert De Niro (as his patient), at their self-indulgent worst. Nevertheless, its Oscar nomination for Best Picture made Marshall only the second woman (after Randa Haines, director of Children of a Lesser God) to have a film in contention in that category.

Marshall had shot to fame as an actor, playing the goofy Laverne Defazio opposite Cindy Williams in Laverne & Shirley, a sitcom created by Marshall’s brother, Garry. (Later the director of films including Pretty Woman and Beaches, he predeceased her in 2016.) The series ran from 1976 until 1983; by its third season, it was the most watched TV show in the US. The characters, roommates who work together at a Milwaukee brewery, had made their initial appearance in 1975 on another of Garry Marshall’s sitcoms, the nostalgic Happy Days, where they went on a double date with The Fonz (Henry Winkler) and Richie (Ron Howard). They proved so popular that a spin-off was turned around in the space of just two months.

This in turn spawned its own animated series, Laverne & Shirley in the Army, in 1981, for which Marshall provided her character’s voice.

Robert Loggia and Tom Hanks in the box-office triumph Big (1988), which Marshall directed. Photograph: Allstar/20th Century Fox

Laverne & Shirley relied increasingly on slapstick, allowing Marshall to indulge her early ambitions to be a stunt performer. She was nominated three times for Golden Globes for her work on the show, and attributed its success to the characters’ relative poverty and working-class backgrounds, which distinguished it from aspirational forebears such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Born Carole – Penny was her middle name – in the Bronx, New York City, she was the daughter of Marjorie (nee Ward), who ran a tap dancing school in the basement of the building where the family lived, and Anthony Marshall (born Masciarelli), an aspiring cartoonist who made industrial films. Living across the street was Rob Reiner, Marshall’s future husband and co-star, though they did not know each other at the time. “It was a very wide street,” she explained.

Much of her childhood was taken up with performing as part of her mother’s Rockettes-style dance troupe, The Marshallettes, three-time winners on the TV variety show Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour.

After Walton high school she studied maths and psychology at the University of New Mexico. She became pregnant there and was married briefly to the child’s father, Michael Henry, before moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.

Lori Petty, Tom Hanks and Geena Davis in A League of their Own (1992) which, like Big, was a major box-office success. Photograph: Alamy

Early roles included a shampoo commercial alongside Farrah Fawcett (Marshall was cast as “Homely Girl”) and the biker exploitation movie The Savage Seven, in which she played “an Indian with a Bronx accent”. She found work on some of her brother’s projects, including How Sweet It Is! (1968), a comedy he scripted co-starring James Garner and Debbie Reynolds, and his TV spin-off of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple (1972-74). It was there that she became Reiner’s wife on-screen as well as off.

She directed several episodes of Laverne & Shirley and of Working Stiffs (1979), a sitcom starring Michael Keaton and James Belushi as janitors. In 1986, she was asked at short notice to take over the Whoopi Goldberg caper Jumpin’ Jack Flash, which had lost its original director, Howard Zieff, early in production.

Her other films were Renaissance Man (1994), with Danny DeVito as an English teacher on an army base; The Preacher’s Wife (1996), a remake of the 1947 festive favourite The Bishop’s Wife, starring Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston; and an adaptation of Beverly Donofrio’s autobiography, Riding in Cars with Boys (2001), featuring Drew Barrymore as a teenage mother. Occasional returns to acting included the comic thriller The Hard Way (1991), the supernatural comedy Hocus Pocus (1993), where she appeared with her brother, the film-industry romp Get Shorty (1995), in which she briefly played herself, and the cult TV hit Portlandia (2012).

After surviving lung cancer, Marshall wrote a 2012 memoir, My Mother Was Nuts, in which she was candid about her drug use and the abortion she underwent in her 40s.

Both her marriages ended in divorce. Marshall is survived by a daughter from her first marriage, Tracy Reiner, who took the surname of her adoptive father, and by a sister, Ronny.

• Carole Penny Marshall, actor, writer and director, born 15 October 1943; died 17 December 2018

After Penny Marshall’s Death, Ex-Husband Rob Reiner Says He’s ‘So Sad’

A number of people mourned the death of actress and director Penny Marshall following her death this week. She was 75.

Director Rob Reiner, who was married to Marshall for 10 years in the 1970s, issued a statement after her death. “So sad about Penny,” he wrote. “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.”

God Bless Penny Marshall’s extraordinary soul.
Beyond doubt she was able to excel at anything she put her world class mind & heart to and, lucky us, she picked comedy and films which celebrated humans. To many of us lost ones she was, at the time, the world’s greatest den mother.

— james l. brooks (@canyonjim) December 18, 2018

In the late 80s i had taken my kids to the Park, then as i was hauling stroller & toddler up the steps of my apt. building, a woman appeared & wordlessly helped me. It was Penny Marshall. I had always LOVED her work & now i loved her. . RIP and thank you for ALL of it Penny💔.

— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) December 18, 2018

Reiner and Marshall grew up on the same street in the Bronx in New York City. “We grew up across the street in the Bronx but didn’t know each other,” she told People magazine in 2012.

Other Celebrities React

“God Bless Penny Marshall’s extraordinary soul. Beyond doubt she was able to excel at anything she put her world class mind & heart to and, lucky us, she picked comedy and films which celebrated humans. To many of us lost ones she was, at the time, the world’s greatest den mother,” wrote James L. Brooks, the producer and director.

“Sad to hear of Penny Marshall’s passing. a great comedienne a terrific director and a dear friend,” wrote actor and comedian Billy Crystal.

“Penny Marshall had me audition 6 times for a role and then I didn’t get it. She didn’t know that I would audition for her forever. It was a treat to be in the room. She was glorious. #RIPPennyMarshall,” “Seinfeld” actor Jason Alexander wrote.

The Dodgers join the baseball community in mourning the passing of “A League of Their Own” director Penny Marshall. She visited Dodger Stadium in 2014 for the screening of her movie. She will be missed.

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) December 18, 2018

The LA Clippers are deeply saddened by the passing of Penny Marshall, a resilient pioneer with legendary talent, a committed advocate for women, and a passionate member of Clipper Nation.

— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) December 18, 2018

“The LA Clippers are deeply saddened by the passing of Penny Marshall, a resilient pioneer with legendary talent, a committed advocate for women, and a passionate member of Clipper Nation,” wrote the Los Angeles Clippers. Marshall frequently went to Clippers games.

Said actress Mia Farrow, “In the late 80s i had taken my kids to the Park, then as i was hauling stroller & toddler up the steps of my apt. building, a woman appeared & wordlessly helped me. It was Penny Marshall. I had always LOVED her work & now i loved her. RIP and thank you for ALL of it Penny.”

“Farewell to the lady I imitated as a kid before becoming her neighbor years later, legendary sitcom star and BIG director Penny Marshall. Got to tell Penny that LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN is one of my favorite films,” added director Kevin Smith.

Farewell to the lady I imitated as a kid before becoming her neighbor years later, legendary sitcom star and BIG director Penny Marshall. Got to tell Penny that LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN is one of my favorite films when we recorded 4 epic podcasts at my house:…

— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) December 18, 2018

Penny Marshall, the actress and director famed for her role in “Laverne & Shirley,” died at age 75, according to reports.

Marshall died in her home in Hollywood Hills on Dec. 17 after suffering from complications from diabetes, TMZ reported on Dec. 18.

The actress had been battling health issues for the past decade. In 2009, she was diagnosed with lung cancer that spread to her brain.

Marshall’s family told TMZ: “Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall. Penny was a tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together and being with her family.”

Marshall was best known for her role as Laverne DeFazio in the 1970s and 1980s, opposite to Cindy Williams’ Shirley Feeney. She later went on to direct “A League of Their Own” with Tom Hanks and Geena Davis, “Big” with Tom Hanks, and “Renaissance Man” with Danny DeVito.

Screengrab via Universal Pictures Tracy Reiner pictured in “Apollo 13.”

Tracy Reiner, the only child of Rob Reiner and Penny Marshall, is an actress in her own right having appeared in “A League of Their Own” and “Big.” TMZ was the first to report on December 18 that Marshall had died at the age of 75. The website gave her cause of death as complications caused by diabetes.

Marshall is survived by her sister, Ronny Hallin, 80, and her daughter Tracy Reiner, 54. Marshall’s brother, the legendary filmmaker Garry Marshall, passed away in 2016. On Marshall’s official Facebook page, a brief message read, “Our family thanks everyone for the kind messages and thoughts. Losing Penny is hard to endure. Keep her sister Ronny, Daughter Tracy and grandchildren Spencer, Bella and Viva in your prayers.”

Here’s what you need to know about Tracy Reiner:

1. Tracy’s Biological Father Is Michael Henry But She Was Adopted by Celebrated Director Rob Reiner

GettyTracy Reiner, honorees Carl Reiner and Rob Reiner, actor Michele Singer Reiner, writer Nick Reiner, and Rony Reiner attend the Carl and Rob Reiner Hand and Footprint Ceremony during the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival on April 7, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

In 2012, Marshall spoke candidly about giving birth to Tracy in an interview with Newsweek. Marshall spoke about Tracy’s father, Michael “Mickey” Henry, as a football player in her college, the University of New Mexico. Marshall said Tracy was conceived because Henry was sad about being dropped from the football team. When Marshall discovered she was pregnant, the pair got married which happened to be in the days after JFK’s Assassination in November 1963.

Marshall vaguely describes divorcing Henry and marrying Rob Reiner adding, “Tracy came to stay with us—she said we had more TV channels. I did have to send her off to college while wearing a Playboy Bunny suit because it was during the shooting of that episode of ‘Laverne & Shirley.’” Tracy said in a 2011 interview with the Hollywood Sentinel that she grew up between Los Angeles, New Mexico and New York City. During her time in high school in Los Angeles, Tracy enrolled at Colfax Avenue School, which is also the alma-mater of Molly Ringwald, Claire Danes and Jodie Foster.

2. Tracy is Known for Her Roles in ‘When Harry Met Sally…,’ ‘A League of Their Own,’ & ‘Apollo 13’

Tracy Reiner Film | Masque of the Red Death. 1987 | Video Clip – Tracy Reiner as Lucretia in The Masque of the Red Death. Visit Tracy Reiner’s official website for bio, movie clips and autographs. 2010-10-26T01:53:45.000Z

Tracy has had a vast acting career in her own right, according to her IMDb page. In the 1970s, Tracy appeared in multiple episodes of her mother’s sitcom, “Laverne & Shirley.” More famously, Tracy had substantial roles in the movies, “A League of Their Own,” “When Harry Met Sally…” and “Masque of the Red Death.” In her interview with the Hollywood Sentinel, Tracy said she worked on “Saturday Night Live” for three seasons. During the same interview, Tracy said that she has had her Screen Actors Guild card since she was 15 years old.

Racine Belles Win the Game – A League of Their Own (7/8) Movie CLIP (1992) HDA League of Their Own movie clips: BUY THE MOVIE: Don’t miss the HOTTEST NEW TRAILERS: CLIP DESCRIPTION: Dottie (Geena Davis) tells the pitcher how to strike out her sister Kit (Lori Petty), but Kit proves them wrong with a home run that wins the game. FILM DESCRIPTION: The All-American Girls’ Professional Baseball League was founded in 1943, when most of the men of baseball-playing age were far away in Europe and Asia fighting World War II. The league flourished until after World War II, when, with the men’s return, the league was consigned to oblivion. Director Penny Marshall and screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel re-create the wartime era when women’s baseball looked to stand a good chance of sweeping the country. The story begins as a candy-bar tycoon enlists agents to scour the country to find women who could play ball. In the backwoods of Oregon, two sisters — Dottie (Geena Davis) and Kit (Lori Petty) — are discovered. Dottie can hit and catch, while Kit can throw a mean fastball. The girls come to Chicago to try out for the team with other prospects that include their soon-to-be-teammates Mae Mordabito (Madonna), Doris Murphy (Rosie O’Donnell), and Marla Hooch (Megan Cavanagh). The team’s owner, Walter Harvey (Gary Marshall) needs someone to coach his team and he picks one-time home-run champion Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), who is now a broken-down alcoholic. After a few weeks of training, as Dugan sobers up, the team begins to show some promise. By the end of the season, the team has improved to the point where they are competing in the World Series (which is no big deal, since there are only four teams in the league). CREDITS: TM & © Sony (1992) Cast: Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Tom Hanks Director: Penny Marshall Producers: Elliot Abbott, Ronnie D. Clemmer, Robert Greenhut, Joseph Hartwick, Amy Lemisch, Penny Marshall, Bill Pace Screenwriters: Kim Wilson, Kelly Candaele, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel WHO ARE WE? The MOVIECLIPS channel is the largest collection of licensed movie clips on the web. Here you will find unforgettable moments, scenes and lines from all your favorite films. Made by movie fans, for movie fans. SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MOVIE CHANNELS: MOVIECLIPS: ComingSoon: Indie & Film Festivals: Hero Central: Extras: Classic Trailers: Pop-Up Trailers: Movie News: Movie Games: Fandango: Fandango FrontRunners: HIT US UP: Facebook: Twitter: Pinterest: Tumblr: 2012-10-21T22:00:12.000Z

Tracy said in a 2014 interview that the most common line that fans say to her is from, “A League of Their Own,” Tom Hanks’ famous, “There’s no crying in baseball!” Tracy said people say it to her at amusement parks. When asked about the ending of the movie and if Geena Davis’ character purposely dropped the ball to allow her sister the glory, Tracy said, “Seriously? Whatever you believe, you make true.”

3. Tracy Is Married With 5 Children

A Family Surprise for Penny Marshall | The Rosie Show | Oprah Winfrey NetworkBen is a budding fashion designer at the ripe age of…11 years old! He talks about his admiration for RuPaul, his love of design and how it feels to get bullied at school for being different. For more on #TheRosieShow, visit Find OWN on TV at #OWNTV #TheRosieShow #RosieODonnell SUBSCRIBE: Download the Watch OWN App: About OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey’s heart and creative instincts inform the brand — and the magnetism of the channel. Winfrey provides leadership in programming and attracts superstar talent to join her in primetime, building a global community of like-minded viewers and leading that community to connect on social media and beyond. OWN is a singular destination on cable. Depth with edge. Heart. Star power. Connection. And endless possibilities. Discover OWN TV: Find OWN on you TV!: Our Fantastic Lineup: Connect with OWN Online: Visit the OWN WEBSITE: Like OWN on FACEBOOK: Follow OWN on TWITTER: Follow OWN on INSTAGRAM: Follow OWN on PINTEREST: A Family Surprise for Penny Marshall | The Rosie Show | Oprah Winfrey Network 2012-01-03T18:40:35.000Z

Tracy is married to Matthew Theodore Conlan. The couple has two children together. Tracy has a son, Spencer, from a previous relationship. Her husband has two children from a previous relationship. Marshall said of Spencer in her 2012 Newsweek interview, “I love him dearly.” Marshall added that Tracy has two daughters, Bella and Viva. In 2011, Bella appeared in the movie “Boys With Eyes.” An online profile of Tracy says that the family has 12 pets.

At one point in her youth, Tracy said that she was romantically linked to one of Francis Ford Coppola’s sons.

4. On Her Facebook Page, Tracy Says She Was Her Mother’s Manager


Tracy says on her Facebook page that she had been working as her mother’s manager. While on her LinkedIn page, Tracy says that she sits on numerous non-profits boards in Hollywood. Since August 2018, Tracy has been the president of the Womens Club of Hollywood. She describes her role as, “Restoring and re establishing a historic and valuable organization to its original grandeur.”

Tracy studied dance and theater at Bennington College in the 1980s and Film Studies at the University of Southern California in the 1990s. In one bio, Tracy is quoted as saying, “It was complete culture shock. I was forever try to build bridges between both of those worlds and schooling became the easiest place. I went to a lot of schools: Private, alternative, college and universities.” In addition, Tracy is the CEO of Manifesto Films.

5. Tracy Is Heavlily Involved in Renewable Energy Research

Splat From The Past #18- Tracy ReinerTommy “Throwback” Kovac chats it up with Tracy Reiner, the lovely daughter of Penny Marshall, stepdaughter of Rob Reiner and niece of Garry Marshall. We discuss the 25th Anniversary of “A League of Their Own”, as well as her multi-talented family. Totally radical!. 2017-07-30T22:21:11.000Z

Tracy said in a 2014 interview with Jeff Pearlman that 15 members of her family were employed by the Atomic Energy Commission. Tracy spoke about her interest in renewable energy saying, “There is a tremendous effort being made to save the earth and a tremendous effort at still raping the earth. She will have to reconcile this battle. I am on the side of the white blood cells fighting the disease.” Tracy said in a 2011 interview with the Hollywood Sentinel, “My family in New Mexico all worked at the government facilities; Los Alamos, Sandia National Labs, Kurtland Air Force Base.”

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Rockford celebrates beloved “A League of Their Own” director Penny Marshall

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – The beloved director of “A League of Their Own” Penny Marshall was the mind behind a movie that changed the way people look at women and their abilities to play sports and because of her work, she was recognized during a three-day weekend in her honor.

“I am grateful for what sports have meant in my life. I’m grateful to be here with you today and I’m grateful for Penny Marshall and for her making “A League of Their Own” ,” said Congressperson Cheri Bustos.

During a ceremony at Beyer Stadium, a large commemorative sign of Marshall was unveiled as a way to honor the work she did during her lifetime.

“To think about the star power that was on that stage back there. You have penny Marshall’s daughter who played Betty “spaghetti” in the movie. You have Megan Cavanagh who played Marla Hooch in the movie and you’ve got actually players who were on the Rockford Peaches,” Bustos said.

Bustos said the movie “A League of Their Own” inspired her to play sports growing up.

“I was in junior high when Title XI passed, so I was very early in girl’s athletics and was able to play softball now as a member of congress. In high school I played basketball and volleyball,” Bustos said.

Characters from “A League of Their Own” are surprised by how empowering the movie became in the sports world.

“We were just doing a movie. We knew the ladies were real and that we were there to tell their story. We had no idea how it would be accepted,” said Tracy Reiner, Actress, and Marshall’s daughter.

“Here we are in 2019 and to see how far that girls’ sports and women sports have come. It was literally on their shoulders that women can play at the level they play at today,” Bustos said.

The International Women’s Baseball Center is raising money to build a $7.4 million women’s baseball museum and educational center in Rockford.

Laverne and Shirley actress Penny Marshall died on Monday night at the age of 75, reportedly due to complications from diabetes. Her death prompted many of her closest friends and family members to share touching memories and words of support — among those was her ex-husband of 10 years, Rob Reiner. The All in the Family actor expressed that he would greatly miss Penny and the work that she contributed to the world.

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.

— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) December 18, 2018

“I loved Penny. I grew up with her. She was born with a great gift,” he shared on Twitter. “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.” In another tweet, he simply remarked that he was “so sad about Penny.”

Rob Reiner and Penny Marshall together on The Odd Couple. Getty

People reports that Rob and Penny grew up near each other in the Bronx, New York. They didn’t meet until Penny’s appearance on The Odd Couple in 1971, and got married that same year. In 1978, they worked together on More Than Friends, but split shortly after. While married, Rob adopted Penny’s daughter, Tracy Reiner, who she had with Michael Henry when she was 19. Rob and Penny shared three grandchildren together.

Penny Marshall with her daughter, Tracy, in 1979. Getty

Tracy is perhaps most known for her role as “Betty Spaghetti” Horn in A League of Their Own, which Penny directed. She has not yet spoken out publicly about her mother’s death.

Kayla Keegan News and Entertainment Editor Kayla Keegan covers all things in the entertainment, pop culture, and celebrity space for Good Housekeeping.

Penny Marshall — actor, director, producer and legend — did it her way

Not that Penny Marshall would have been offended if the very first thing she was remembered for was a television character whose motto was the enigmatic “Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”, but she was so much more than Laverne DeFazio. As an actor, a director and a producer, Marshall, who died on December 17 at the age of 75, helped create for women in Hollywood the very model of a modern multi-hyphenate.

In retrospect, the Seventies turned out to an auspicious era for TV stars who’d later become successful in other creative fields. That wasn’t just coincidence; it was intricate familial and professional connections at work. “All In the Family” star Rob Reiner would go on to direct “This Is Spinal Tap,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “The Princess Bride.” After starring on creator Garry Marshall’s “Happy Days,” Ron Howard directed classics like “Splash,” while his Imagine Entertainment gave us “Arrested Development.” But nobody much expected that path for Rob’s wife. For Garry’s little sister. For Michael McKean’s fictional downstairs neighbor. Not the unremarkable seeming girl with the Bronx foghorn voice.


Her expected place in entertainment might be defined one of Marshall’s first acting roles — as the plain, dandruff suffering roommate to a pretty girl named Farrah Fawcett in a shampoo commercial. Her first real name recognition came with a recurring part as a put upon secretary “nobody” ever called beautiful on “The Odd Couple.” Then, after she and Cindy Williams guested on a scene-stealing 1975 episode of “Happy Days,” their characters were spun off to become mid century Milwaukee’s sassiest brewery workers, “Laverne & Shirley.”

The show ran for seven years and was by all reports not always a harmonious environment. It was notable as one of the first shows to deploy the concept of diagonal billing, a means of quasi equalizing the two stars. (In case you ever wondered why Shirley’s name appeared above Laverne’s in the titles).

But it was via “Laverne & Shirley” that Marshall first honed her directorial skills, helming a number of episodes. After the show finished its run in 1983 — by that point set in Los Angeles and without Williams’ Shirley — Marshall moved to film directing.


Though her first feature, an unmemorable Whoopi Goldberg caper called “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” didn’t set the world alight, it gave Marshall the bona fides to go on to helm a string of critical and box office successes including “Big,” “Awakenings,” “A League of Their Own” and “The Preacher’s Wife.” She continued directing right up until a few years ago, going behind the camera for two episodes of “United States of Tara.” She also produced. She even continued to act from time to time, popping up for a quick guest spot on a sitcom here and there.

She thrived as a peer and colleague of the talented and hard-working men around her, but not as a reflection of them. And that’s something that subsequent generations of women — not just in Hollywood — were able to grow up looking at and learning from. Marshall was in that regard a kindred spirit to Carrie Fisher (who, perhaps inevitably, guested once on “Laverne & Shirley”), a woman whose family was famous but whose achievements were entirely self-made.

Do I need to tell you how hard women are still fighting for this stuff? Two years ago, when Olympic trap shooter Corey Cogdell-Unrein secured the bronze in Rio, headlines described her as “wife of Bears DE Mitch Unrein.” When Hillary Clinton secured a place in history as the first female presidential candidate from a major party, newspapers including the Houston Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune and Sacramento Bee featured front page photographs of her husband Bill.


Women are endlessly viewed in the context of our men — our spouses and siblings and parents and children. We are, when we are hurt, “somebody’s daughter.” We are, when are successful, presumed less capable than our male counterparts. We are reminded incessantly that our primary job in life is mother, preferably to sons.

There will be, in the aftermath of Marshall’s demise, plenty of conversation about the enduring quality of her work. I don’t need to tell you about that. Just go watch “Awakenings” already; it’s really good. Watch “A League of Their Own” and reflect upon the challenges of women working in male dominated professions, all while trying to keep their senses of humor. But while you’re at it, think of the doors that Penny Marshall helped crack open just a little more. Think of how incredible, how novel, it still is to be a woman who works and achieves alongside men as an equal and a peer and not an accessory. Or, worse, a threat. It’s impossible not to consider those things, especially now, coming so soon after the death of actress and director Sondra Locke, whose Guardian remembrance headlined her as “a charismatic performer defined by a toxic relationship with Clint Eastwood.” Thanks a lot, Clint Eastwood.


In contrast, Penny Marshall was not defined by her relationships, toxic or otherwise. They were part of her without being the entirety of her, which is pretty much exactly how we talk about successful men. She’ll be remembered for her work — for her youthful flair for physical comedy, for the memorable performances she coaxed from her actors, for making herself a point in a line that extends to other sharp, funny actress/director/producers like Greta Gerwig and Elizabeth Banks.

“I wouldn’t have a career if it wasn’t for my brother,” she said in a 2013 interview with the Television Academy. “Let’s be honest. He’s the one who pointed me in this direction.” Yet Penny Marshall was the one who walked in it. She got herself in the league. He just got her on the train.

On Tuesday, the world learned that longtime actress and director Penny Marshall died at age 75.

As one of Hollywood’s top-grossing female filmmakers behind hits like A League of Their Own and Big, she made a mark in the industry that was only matched by her brother, the late director-producer Garry Marshall, who helmed Overboard, Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries franchise. He died at age 81 in 2016.

Both had remarkable, longstanding careers across film and TV that spanned multiple decades. Both famously defined how TV’s best sitcoms and film’s favorite romantic comedies would look, sound and feel like. And both left an indelible impression on Hollywood, friends and fans alike.

But for all their successes onscreen, the two were the rare brother-sister duo (or any family combination for that matter) that seemingly rose above all the typical Hollywood drama to maintain one of the most beloved and unbreakable family bonds, even if there was tension not always seen.

“My brother gave me a life,” Penny told nephew Scott, her brother’s son who was interviewing her for ET in 2016. “It’s not many people who have a brother who gives them a life. He gave me a life and I appreciate it and I tried to not let him down.”

Growing up in The Bronx, New York, the two both made their way to Hollywood, picking up small jobs here and there before Garry teamed up with Jerry Belson and the pair developed The Odd Couple for television. It was on that show that Garry brought Penny, who was still a budding actress after making her film debut in How Sweet It Is, on to play Oscar’s secretary, Myrna, for four years.

From there, their two careers would be intrinsically linked. In 1975, Garry created Happy Days, on which Penny had a small role as Laverne DeFazio before landing the spinoff, Laverne & Shirley, which Garry also created.

“It was the toughest show, or project I ever did, was Laverne & Shirley,” Garry told NPR in 2012, “mostly because it’s my sister, and you can’t hide from your sister.” Further explaining how it made things tough on their relationship, he said that “she was Laverne and she was in the number one show. And it was difficult for me, because I do, as I said in the book, pride myself on being able to make people happy. And the one person I couldn’t seem to make happy was my sister, Penny, on Laverne & Shirley.”

Despite whatever tensions or disagreements he and Penny (or the rest of the cast) may have had on set, co-star Cindy Williams insisted to ET in 2015 that it was like “an Italian family at a dinner table on Sunday and somebody doesn’t pass the celery properly.”

Ultimately, the show would last for eight seasons — “It was a show about happiness and in the end that was everyone’s goal,” Williams added — while Garry continued to make hit after TV hit.

Soon after dominating the small screen, the brother-sister pair made the jump to film, where they continued to work together. Garry had a small role as Walter Harvey in one of Penny’s biggest hits, A League of Their Own, while the siblings appeared as a married couple in 1993’s Hocus Pocus.

View photos Getty Images More

While Garry had a prolific film career, writing and directing films up until his death, Penny only helmed a handful of hit movies, leaving most of it behind after 2001’s Riding in Cars With Boys. Outside of producing a few features and directing some episodes of TV, Penny mostly had small onscreen roles, including Garry’s New Year’s Eve and Mother’s Day, before she turned to writing her memoir, My Mother Was Nuts, and living a comfortable life in New York City.

Despite her distance from Hollywood, she told Vulture in 2012 she would still help Garry out when he needed it. “He’s worked with a lot of people. And then there’s some that I’ve introduced him to,” she said, recalling how she helped him land Robert De Niro in New Year’s Eve. “I told Garry you have to talk to him quietly. You don’t yell it out like you can with Tom and Robin. ‘C’MON OVER TO YOUR LEFT MORE.’ You have to be quiet with Bobby D.”

As for any insistence that she return to filmmaking, Penny explained that Garry was supportive of her decision and never urged her to get behind the camera. “He was happy, he sent me flowers,” she said. “He calls me daily.”

In 2016, Garry died a few months before Penny’s best friend, Carrie Fisher. Aside from writing about him in her book, she rarely spoke publicly about his death. In November, when the CBS reboot of The Odd Couple paid tribute to Garry, Penny appeared on the show and spoke to ET about her late brother.

“We miss him a great deal,” she said at the time.


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i moved from the Bronx to go to college. My mother thought New Mexico was near New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and New England. She had no idea about geography. So I ended up at college in New Mexico, and I was a city girl, thinking I had done everything. I thought I had had sex, but I hadn’t. So I finally did do it after a guy had to explain what it was. A year later during my sophomore year, I met a very nice guy, Michael Henry, who was on a football scholarship. When Mickey (I called him Mickey) didn’t make the travel team, he was depressed. I felt bad, and since I had already had sex once, we did it. I didn’t think about anything beyond that I liked a football player—and being from the Bronx, I had never seen anyone over 5 feet 8 in my life. They’re taller out West.

A month later, I missed my period. I went to the doctor and found out I was pregnant. I don’t think they even talked about birth control back then. I had just turned 19 and he was a year younger. This was 1963—there were no legal abortions in the U.S., and I wasn’t going to go to Juárez, you know? Girls then were going horseback riding to try to end their pregnancies. I didn’t do that. I figured I made my bed, so I’m going to sleep in it. My third choice was moving to Amarillo. I’d never been there, but I was thinking I’d go and have the baby by myself. But instead Mickey said, Let’s get married. He was a great guy. We ended up getting married the weekend John F. Kennedy got shot. All that was on the TV during our honeymoon in a motel was the funeral, which set the tone.

We were young and had no money. He got about $100 a month from his scholarship. I was in school, and after a while I quit college to get a secretary job. Finally, we had a beautiful baby girl that July, and named her Tracy. We didn’t know what we were doing, but we did it. Luckily, Mickey was a doll. He would get up in the middle of the night and mornings with her, and then go to school.

Later on, Mickey and I got divorced, and he moved to Colorado and had another daughter with his new wife. And then I married Rob Reiner, so Tracy came to stay with us—she said we had more TV channels. I did have to send her off to college while wearing a Playboy Bunny suit, because it was during the shooting of that episode of Laverne & Shirley. Carrie Fisher was on the show, and said, “Work hard and one day you’ll be as successful as your mother!” And there I was in a bunny suit with a tail, saying, “Bye-bye, honey, have a good time!”

What I thought was a major, life-changing mistake that could have given me a scarlet A ended up giving me a wonderful family. Tracy had a son, Spencer, who’s going to be 20—I love him dearly—and she is now married again and has two little girls, Viva, who’s 6, and Bella, who’s 7. I have three grandkids whom I’m enjoying and love very much. My family is well, and that’s what’s important. In my opinion, life is more important than show business.

Interview By Kara Cutruzzula

Career Arc

Gets pregnant at 19 during her junior year of college.

Guest-stars on The Odd Couple, where she meets future husband Rob Reiner.

Begins playing Laverne in the Happy Days spinoff Laverne & Shirley.

Becomes first female director to break $100 million mark (with Big).

Publishes her memoir titled My Mother Was Nuts (Sept. 18).

We have Penny Marshall to thank for the popularity of the monogram

Penny Marshall fans will forever associate her with the monogrammed clothes she wore on the 1970s sitcom Laverne & Shirley. Marshall, who died Monday at age 75 from complications of diabetes, was an actress, filmmaker, and pioneer for women in Hollywood. She directed hits like Big and A League of Their Own when few women had the opportunity to helm films, but it was her breakthrough role of Laverne DeFazio that introduced her to the masses. On the sitcom, a spinoff of Happy Days set in 1950s Milwaukee, Marshall made the monogram her signature style staple.

Although monograms date back to antiquity, they enjoyed enormous popularity in the US in the 1950s and ’60s. By wearing monogrammed shirts and sweaters as Laverne more than 20 years after they peaked, Marshall helped to keep this trend alive, as it was her idea for her character to wear a monogrammed L on all of her clothing.

Penny Marshall wearing a monogrammed shirt as sitcom character Laverne DeFazio. ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

In 2011, Marshall explained to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis why her character wore a cursive L. The script, she said, had her repeating her name and profession, a bottle capper in a brewery, on every other page. Marshall thought the constant references would grow boring.

“I was looking for a short cut as I sifted through the vintage clothing that the wardrobe department had collected from the 1950s,” she recalled. “I came across a sweater with an initial sewn in the upper left corner. It suddenly dawned on me how I could save time. Make the initial an ‘L,’ and then everyone would remember that my name is Laverne. The wardrobe department took my suggestion and quickly changed the letter to an ‘L’ and the rest is history.”

As news of her death spreads, fans are remembering Marshall for her contributions to film and television as well as for Laverne’s style. Jessica Morgan of the fashion and pop culture website Go Fug Yourself credited Marshall for her love of monograms.

OH NO! This is a loss. I cannot express how much I, as a child, loved Laverne and Shirley. Penny Marshall is literally why I love a monogram. – J

— Heather & Jessica (@fuggirls) December 18, 2018

In fact, 35 years after Laverne & Shirley went off the air, monograms are now having a huge moment. The State of Fashion 2018 report by the Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company highlighted “personalization” as one of this year’s major fashion themes. The clothing and accessories brand Mansur Gavriel recently introduced its monogramming service and several retailers, including Land’s End and JCPenney, offer it as well. Some brands, such as Tory Burch, have even name-checked Marshall as a monogram trendsetter.

So just as fans of Fred Rogers will always remember his trademark cardigans, Marshall will always be linked to her signature cursive L.

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‘Laverne & Shirley’ star, ‘Big’ director Penny Marshall dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Penny Marshall, the trailblazing director of smash-hit big-screen comedies who first indelibly starred in the top-rated sitcom “Laverne & Shirley,” has died. She was 75.

Marshall’s publicist, Michelle Bega, said Tuesday that Marshall died in her Los Angeles home on Monday due to complications from diabetes. “Our family is heartbroken,” the Marshall family said in a statement.

In “Laverne & Shirley,” among television’s biggest hits for much of its seven-season 1976-1983 run, the nasal-voiced, Bronx-born Marshall starred as Laverne DeFazio alongside Cindy Williams as a pair of blue-collar roommates toiling on the assembly line of a Milwaukee brewery. A spinoff of “Happy Days,” the series was the rare network hit about working-class characters, and its self-empowering opening song (“Give her any chance, she’ll take it/ Give her any rule, she’ll break it”) foreshadowed Marshall’s own path as a filmmaker in Hollywood.

“Almost everyone had a theory about why ‘Laverne & Shirley’ took off,” Marshall wrote in her 2012 memoir “My Mother Was Nuts.” ”I thought it was simply because Laverne and Shirley were poor and there were no poor people on TV, but there were plenty of them sitting at home and watching TV.”

Marshall directed several episodes of “Laverne & Shirley,” which her older brother, the late filmmaker-producer Garry Marshall, created. Those episodes helped launch Marshall as a filmmaker. When Whoopi Goldberg clashed with director Howard Zieff, she brought in Marshall to direct “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” the 1986 comedy starring Goldberg.

“Jumpin’ Jack Flash” did reasonable business, but Marshall’s next film made her the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million. Her 1988 hit comedy “Big,” starring Tom Hanks, was about a 12-year-old boy who wakes up in the body of a 30-year-old New York City man. The film, which earned Hanks an Oscar nomination, grossed $151 million worldwide, or about $320 million accounting for inflation.

Marshall reteamed with Hanks for “A League of Their Own,” the 1992 comedy about the women’s professional baseball league begun during World War II, starring Geena Davis, Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell. That, too, crossed $100 million, making $107.5 million domestically.

More than any other films, “A League of Their Own” and “Big” ensured Marshall’s stamp on the late ’80s, early ’90s. The piano dance scene in FAO Schwartz in “Big” became iconic. Hanks’ reprimand “There’s no crying in baseball,” from “A League of Their Own,” remains quoted on baseball diamonds everywhere.

“She had a heart of gold. Tough as nails,” recalled Danny DeVito, who starred in Marshall’s 1994 comedy “Renaissance Man.” ”She could play round ball with the best of them.”

The pair of hits also made Marshall a beacon to other aspiring female filmmakers. Ava DuVernay, whose “A Wrinkle in Time” was the first $100 million-budgeted film directed by a woman of color, said Tuesday: “Thank you, Penny Marshall. For the trails you blazed. The laughs you gave. The hearts you warmed.”

In between “Big” and “A League of Their Own,” Marshall made the Oliver Sacks adaptation “Awakenings,” with Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. The medical drama, while not as successful at the box office, became only the second film directed by a woman nominated for best picture.

Carole Penny Marshall was born Oct. 15, 1942, in the Bronx. Her mother, Marjorie Marshall, was a dance teacher, and her father, Anthony, made industrial films. Their marriage was strained. Her mother’s caustic wit — a major source of inspiration for Marshall’s memoir — was formative. (One remembered line: “You were a miscarriage, but you were stubborn and held on.”)

“Those words are implanted in your soul, unfortunately. It’s just the way it was,” Marshall once recalled. “You had to learn at a certain age what sarcasm is, you know? When she says it about somebody else, you laughed, but when it was you, you didn’t laugh so much.”

During college at the University of New Mexico, Marshall met Michael Henry, whom she married briefly for two years and with whom she had a daughter, Tracy. Marshall would later wed the director Rob Reiner, a marriage that lasted from 1971 to 1981. Tracy, who took the name Reiner, became an actress; one of her first roles was a brief appearance in her mother’s “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” (Marshall is also survived by her older sister, Ronny, and three grandchildren.)

Marshall never again matched the run of “Big,” ”Awakenings” and “A League of Their Own.” Her next film, the Army recruit comedy “Renaissance Man,” flopped. She directed “The Preacher’s Wife” (1996) with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. Her last film as director was 2001’s “Riding in Cars With Boys,” with Drew Barrymore. Marshall also helmed episodes of ABC’s “According to Jim” in 2009 and Showtime’s “United States of Tara” in 2010 and 2011, and directed the 2010 TV movie “Women Without Men.”