(Reuters) – Cindy Williams, who played Shirley alongside Penny Marshall’s Laverne in “Laverne & Shirley,” one of the most popular U.S. TV shows of the 1970s and 1980s, has died at 75, the AP reported on Monday, citing a statement from her family.
Williams passed away in Los Angeles on Wednesday following a brief illness, said her children, Zak and Emily Hudson, in the statement.
“The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed,” they said.
“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, who was born in Los Angeles, began her career acting in TV commercials before landing roles in films directed by Hollywood greats George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola.
She and Marshall first appeared as Shirley Feeney and Laverne DeFazio in the popular “Happy Days” series in 1975. “Laverne & Shirley” followed as a spinoff, running for eight seasons with 178 total episodes from 1976 to 1983.
The series follows two single roommates working in a Milwaukee bottling factory in the 1950s and 1960s. Shirley is the more well-mannered of the two, with Laverne known for her unrefined style and thick Bronx accent.
The supporting cast included Michael McKean and David Lander as Laverne and Shirley’s goofy neighbors, Lenny and Squiggy.
Marshall once described the success of “Laverne & Shirley” by saying: “We dared to be stupid.”
(Reporting by Rami Ayyub, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)