Cindy Williams of Laverne & Shirley Dies at 75

cindy williams

Hollywood icon and Laverne & Shirley star Cindy Williams passes away at the age of 75, as confirmed in a statement by her family.

Laverne & Shirley star Cindy Williams has passed away at the age of 75.

Per the Los Angeles Times, the passing of Williams, who famously portrayed the fun-loving, optimistic Shirley Feeney on the long-running sitcom, was confirmed by her children Zak and Emily Hudson on Jan. 30. Williams died in Los Angeles, CA on Jan. 25 after a brief illness.

A statement released to the Associate Press through a spokeswoman for the family noted, “The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed. 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 was born in Los Angeles in 1947. Her professional acting career began with commercials before moving on to early television and film roles such as George Lucas’ 1973 classic American Graffiti, for which she earned a BAFTA nomination. She also appeared in films such as George Cukor’s Travels with My Aunt (1972) and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation (1974). She even auditioned for the role of Princess Leia in Star Wars: A New Hope, though the role inevitably went to Carrie Fisher.

Williams first appeared as Shirley on an episode of Happy Days alongside Penny Marshall as Laverne DeFazio. Laverne & Shirley launched on ABC in 1976 and ran for 178 episodes over 8 seasons until 1983. Williams starred opposite Marshall until she left the series in 1982, just before the eighth and final season.

The series’ success spawned a Hanna-Barbera animated spinoff, Laverne & Shirley in the Army, which ran from 1981 to 1982. Despite the latter being relegated largely to obscurity, the original series continues to hold a cult following among fans.

Following her iconic role on Laverne & Shirley, Williams appeared in a variety of television series as a guest star, such as the sitcom 8 Simple Rules and even on Nickelodeon’s Sam & Cat in 2013, which saw her reunited with her former co-star, Marshall. In 2015, she published a memoir titled Shirley, I Jest!, co-written by Dave Smitherman. Williams made her Broadway debut in 2007 in The Drowsy Chaperone as Mrs. Tottendale.

Williams is survived by her two children, Emily and Zachary Hudson.

Source: LA Times


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