LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cindy Williams, who played Shirley opposite Penny Marshall’s Laverne on the popular comedy series “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 issued through family spokeswoman Liza Cranis.
“The passing of our kind and hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us an insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed,” the statement read. “Knowing her and loving her has been our joy and privilege. She was unique, beautiful, generous, and possessed a brilliant sense of humor and a glowing spirit that everyone loved.”
Williams also starred in director George Lucas’s 1973 film “American Graffiti” and director Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 “The Conversation.”
But she was by far best known for “Laverne & Shirley,” the “Happy Days” spin-off that aired on ABC from 1976 to 1983 and was among the most popular shows on television in its prime.
Williams played the straitlaced Shirley to Marshall’s more rakish Laverne on the show about a pair of roommates who worked in a Milwaukee bottling factory in the 1950s and 1960s.
Marshall, whose brother, Garry Marshall, co-created the series, died in 2018.
“Laverne & Shirley” was known almost as much for its opening theme song as for the show itself. Williams and Marshall’s singing of “schlemiel, schlimazel” as they skipped together became a cultural phenomenon and an oft-invoked piece of nostalgia.