Director Penny Marshall Dies, Aged 75 | News

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Penny came from a family of show business professionals, including her father, Tony Marshall, a director and producer, as well as her older brother, Garry Marshall, who had found success early in life as a comedy writer, and her sister, Ronny Hallin, who worked as a producer and casting director.

TMZ reports Marshall died of complications from diabetes.

Marshall was best known for her 1970s and '80s on-screen antics as beer-bottle capper Laverne DeFazio opposite quirky co-star Cindy Williams, aka Shirley Feeney.

Upon Laverne & Shirley's final end in 1983, Marshall went on to direct a number of Hollywood blockbusters, including Big, Awakenings and A League of Their Own.

The latter work was the first film to be directed by a woman and gross more than $100 million (which now equates to around £80 million) in the US. The film earned almost $108 million and became one of the highest-grossing baseball movies of all time, surpassing "The Natural" (1984) and "Bull Durham" (1988). With encouragement from her brother Garry, Marshall also made her directorial debut on the series, directing four episodes over the course of its eight seasons. In between she appeared in the pilot for Mork & Mindy, the Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour and the short-lived cartoon Laverne & Shirley in the Army.

Former American actor/director Penny Marshall.

The success of Big made Marshall the first woman to direct a film that made more than $100 million U.S. at the domestic box office. She earned raves for her comedic timing and for portraying one of the few relatable blue-collar female characters onscreen in the '70s during a time when The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Charlie's Angels reigned supreme. "She made really conscious choices and made really iconic films", Zima said. The news of Marshall's passing was confirmed by her publicist Michelle Bega, who had this to say in a statement. In 2009, she had lung cancer that metastasized on her brain but told Fox News in 2012, "I'm fine now". "I led an oddly charmed life for someone she thought was a not charming person".

Robert De Niro, who starred in Marshall's film Awakenings, said, "Penny will be missed. She had an instinct for that, and that's what her films represented".

Marshall's family released a statement saying, "Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall". She later went on to direct "A League of Their Own" with Tom Hanks and Geena Davis, "Big" with Tom Hanks, and "Renaissance Man" with Danny DeVito. Neither a schlemiel, nor ever a schlimazel, she shall be missed by her many fans.

It also gave Marshall her start as a filmmaker.

In the 2000s she moved into producing (Cinderella Man, Bewitched) and occasionally took small cameo roles (sometimes as herself) and voice work.

During college at the University of New Mexico, Marshall met Michael Henry, whom she married briefly for two years and with whom she had a daughter, Tracy.

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