Laverne & Shirley actor Cindy Williams dead at 75

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • Cindy Williams has died at the age of 75 after a brief illness.
  • The star was best known for her role as Shirley Feeney in popular sitcom Laverne & Shirley.
  • She and co-star Penny Marshall first appeared as Shirley Feeney and Laverne DeFazio in the popular Happy Days series in the '70s. 
  • Laverne & Shirley followed as a spinoff, running for eight seasons with 178 total episodes.

Cindy Williams, who played Shirley alongside Penny Marshall's Laverne in Laverne & Shirley, one of the most popular US TV shows of the 1970s and 1980s, has died at 75, the AP reported on Monday, citing a statement from her family.

Williams died 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 humour 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 neighbours, Lenny and Squiggy.

Marshall once described the success of Laverne & Shirley by saying: "We dared to be stupid."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.