US actress and director Penny Marshall dies aged 75

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US actress Penny Marshall, who starred in Laverne & Shirley before becoming one of the top-grossing female directors in Hollywood, has died aged 75.

Mashall’s publicist, Michelle Bega, said she passed away in her Los Angeles home on Monday due to complications from diabetes.

Marshall starred alongside Cindy Williams in the hit ABC comedy Laverne & Shirley, which aired from 1976 to 1983.

As a filmmaker, she became the first woman to direct a movie that grossed more than 100 million dollars with Big, the 1988 comedy starring Tom Hanks.

Hanks was among the celebrities paying tribute, writing on Twitter: “Goodbye, Penny. Man, did we laugh a lot! Wish we still could. Love you.”

Marshall also directed A League Of Their Own, Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Awakenings.

Penny Marshall
Penny Marshall poses with co-stars of Awakenings Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, in 1990 (Chrystyna Czajkowsky/AP)

A Bronx native, Marshall became a dedicated Los Angeles Lakers fan, and a courtside regular.

Her brother Garry Marshall, who died in 2016, was also one of Hollywood’s top comedy directors.

Penny Marshall was married to Michael Henry for two years in the 1960s and to the director Rob Reiner from 1971-1981.

Their daughter Tracy Reiner is an actress; one of her first roles was a brief appearance in her mother’s Jumpin’ Jack Flash, which starred Whoopi Goldberg.

Marshall is also survived by her older sister, Ronny, and three grandchildren.

Reiner paid tribute to his former wife, saying on Twitter: “I loved Penny. I grew up with her. She was born with a great gift. She was born with a funnybone and the instinct of how to use it. I was very lucky to have lived with her and her funnybone. I will miss her.”

Robert De Niro, who appeared in Awakenings, said: “Penny will be missed. May she rest in peace.”

Bette Midler also remembered Marshall, saying: “The Marshall family grieves again as the great #PennyMarshall dies at age 75. What an extraordinary family they were and continue to be, and how much love and sympathy my family and I send their way. The end of an era.”

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