Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ‘70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley” before stepping behind the camera for Hollywood hits like “Big” and “A League of Their Own,” died Monday night at her California home. She was 75.
“Yes she did (die) … peacefully at her Hollywood Hills home,” said her publicist Michelle Bega. “She passed away from complications from diabetes."
Marshall’s triumphs as a director broke new ground the male-dominated movie industry, and she became the first female director to score a $100 million gross with “Big” in 1988. She turned the financial trick again with “A League of Their Own” four years later.
Marshall, one of three kids born to a show biz family, landed her breakthrough role in the mid-’70s with the help of her big brother Garry, a well-known director/producer/screenwriter. Sister Ronny Harlin became a casting director and producer.
She was married to actor Rob Reiner in 1971, with the pair divorcing a decade later. She had actually tried out for the role of Gloria on “All In the Family,” losing out to Sally Struthers for the role opposite Reiner.
Marshall once joked that their epitaphs were already written: “For me, all they’ll say is ‘Laverne’ and for Rob all they’ll say is ‘Meathead.’”
She also had a daughter, Tracy, born as a result of a previous relationship (before Reiner).
Marshall was treated 10 years ago for cancer of the brain and lung.
Her family said plans for a “celebration of her life” will be announced at a later date. She was survived by her older sister Ronny, her daughter and three grandkids — Spencer, Bella and Viva.
Below...enjoy the opening song from Marshall's beloved sitcom.