Penny Marshall, an acclaimed and beloved actress and director, passed away earlier this month. From her early days on the hit sitcom Laverne and Shirley to her directorial efforts, like A League of Their Own and Big, Marshall gained thousands of fans. Now, many mourn the loss of this incredible woman. Here is our tribute to Penny Marshall, rest in peace.
Bidding Goodbye To Penny Marshall
On December 17, 2018, Penny Marshall passed away, at the age of 75, due to complications from diabetes. Marshall was an acclaimed Hollywood director, actress, and producer. She was an icon to many in the industry, especially women, and paved the way for many great creators who came after her. Marshall is survived by her daughter Tracy and sister Ronny, as well as her three grandchildren Spence, Bella, and Viva.
A spokesman of the family said, “Our family is heartbroken over the passing. Penny was a tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together and being with her family.”
Furthermore, the family’s statement spoke of Marshall’s past of breaking down barriers: “As an actress, her work on Laverne & Shirley broke ground featuring blue-collar women entertaining America in prime time. She was a comedic natural with a photographic memory and an instinct for slapstick.”
Marshall’s Life Work, And Major Hits
Marshall started her career in front of the camera, in the sixties. She began in sitcoms like the 1970 version of The Odd Couple, before getting her big break in Happy Days. From there the actress earned her next big break: a starring role in a Happy Days spin-off, titled Laverne & Shirley. The spin-off was a hit, becoming the most-watched American television program (at the time) by its third season and lasting eight seasons!
It was on the set of Laverne & Shirley that Marshall decided to switch roles, taking her position behind the camera. Right away, everyone could tell she had a knack for directing and creating. During her time on the hit sitcom, Marshall directed four episodes, beginning the next phase of her career.
The famed director went on to the big screen, continuing to break records. Marshall first directed Jumpin’ Jack Flash, starring EGOT winner, Whoopi Goldberg, in 1986. Then, in 1988, she directed Big, starring Tom Hanks, which gained not only acclaim but also over $150 million in the box offices worldwide! That made her the first female director to pass the $100 million mark gross of her feature film. But Marshall showed no signs of slowing down.
After Big, Marshall went on to direct even more Oscar-nominated hits, such as Awakenings in 1990, starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. However, in 1992 she directed the film many consider to be her crowning achievement: A League of Their Own. Upon its release, League became an instant cult movie. It earned over $132 in cinemas worldwide, continues to be loved by audiences and critics alike.
Never Stop Trying
In 2012, Marshall published a memoir, My Mother Was Nuts, which is both hilarious and touching. It tells of her life in New York, going to baseball and basketball games, and the relationships with her family.
Even though Marshall slowed down her pace and started taking more behind-the-scenes roles, such as producer, she never stopped working. She once said in an interview that her desire to simply make art constantly motivates her – whether she succeeds or fails, she’s got to try. Currently, there is one project which the famed director worked on, titled Rodman, which in post-production stages.
Marshall’s passing was very close to Christmastime, which was devastating for her family. However, the family hopes to send a message of love and togetherness. They’re urging people to spend all the time they can with their families, and, following the legacy of the iconic Marshall – “work hard and make all of their dreams come true.”