Penny Marshall, Director Of ‘Big’ and ‘A League Of Their Own,’ Passes Away At 75
Tuesday, December 18th, 2018 at 7:05 pm
Penny Marshall, one of the most prolific female directors of our time, has passed away at the age of 75 due to complications from diabetes.
From being one of the stars of Laverne & Shirley on TV to directing some of the most iconic films like Big and A League of Their Own, she blazed a trail for many of her female director successors. More on her passing below.
A spokesman confirmed to the LA Times Marshall had passed last night in her Los Angeles home.
Born in the Bronx, New York, Marshall got her Hollywood start through small-town productions and TV commercials. She starred as Myrna in TV’s The Old Couple, the sitcom executive produced by her mother Gary Marshall, but her career really took off when she appeared alongside Cindy Williams in the 1970s TV sitcom Laverne & Shirley. There she played the show’s titular character Laverne DeFazio, a tough-talking tomboy who often wore a script letter “L” monogrammed on her shirts and sweaters. She also received three nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy for her portrayal. The same character would appear on other TV shows in crossover episodes with Mork and Mindy, Happy Days, and Blansky’s Beauties.
Although her TV appearances lessened as the years went on, she would still appear on shows like Frasier, Portlandia, and Mulaney.
But she was so much more than just her roles on TV. She was also a successful filmmaker. One of her biggest hits was Big, starring Tom Hanks. The film would go on to gross over $100 million, making her one of the few female directors to ever achieve the box office milestone in the ’80s.
Marshall’s next film, Awakenings, starring Robert De Niro and the late Robin Williams, would go on to earn three Oscar nominations including Best Picture and a Best Actor nomination for De Niro.
She would then re-team with Hanks, for what is probably considered her greatest directing effort, in A League of Their Own. The film, which is based on the true story of a professional women’s baseball league in the 1940s, coined the popular phrase “There’s no crying in baseball!”
Although she stopped directing films after 2001’s Riding in Cars with Boys, there is no doubt that the work that she has done will continue to serve as an inspiration to future female filmmakers.
After her Marshall’s passing, her ex-husband Rob Reiner, the actor and filmmaker with home she shares five grandchildren, posted about his former wife 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.