‘Laverne & Shirley’ actress Penny Marshall dies at 75

Penny Marshall

The rags said I had liver cancer, I don't drink!

Her groundbreaking directorial achievements also made a tremendous impact on the film industry.

Marshall's gifts as a comic actress turned out to be the most recognizable aspect of her career, but not necessarily the most impressive.

In 1979, Penny Marshall, left, and Cindy Williams from the comedy series "Laverne & Shirley" at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.

"We miss him a great deal", she said at the time. I saw it first-hand.

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The star first rose to fame in the 1970s, playing the role of Lavern DeFazio in the TV sitcom Laverne & Shirley.

Despite whatever tensions or disagreements he and Penny (or the rest of the cast) may have had on set, co-star Cindy Williams insisted to ET in 2015 that it was like "an Italian family at a dinner table on Sunday and somebody doesn't pass the celery properly".

Danny DeVito said she had a "heart of gold".

"All that & always relaxed, amusing & totally unpretentious". She was smart, witty and inspiring.

Describing her upbringing, Marshall, who wrote a memoir titled "My Mother Was Nuts", once said, "you had to form a sense of humor or else you'd kill yourself".

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'You have to understand human nature to be amusing and she had an unbelievable way to go in-depth in a way no one ever did before. Not only was the film a hit with viewers, but it became a substantial financial success as well.

'Penny got along with everyone. That wasn't just coincidence; it was intricate familial and professional connections at work. She had the ability to find something better in a script and act on it.

'Penny could look at a script, find something and take it above the page to make it better.

The AAGPBL is a very real thing, even though the film is a fictional telling of that time in sports history. Part of that is the "What have you done for me lately?" nature of Hollywood, and the other part is that flops for female directors are deemed far more damaging. I am so proud of what she accomplished.

In that memoir, she wrote that her "golden rules" were: "Try hard, play by the rules, help your friends, don't get too insane, and have fun". "I loved Penny. I grew up with her". Penny may be gone but not in spirit. Her first commercial was for Head & Shoulders opposite a then-unknown Farrah Fawcett. "It's not many people who have a brother who gives them a life".

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