STORY: Penny Marshall, who played an endearingly graceless character with a thick Bronx accent in U.S. television's "Laverne & Shirley" before becoming a pioneering film director with hits including "Big" and "A League of Their Own," has died at 75.
Marshall died of complications of diabetes at her home in Hollywood Hills, California, her publicist, Michelle Bega said in a phone interview.
Among the people paying tribute to Marshall were her ex-husband, actor and director Rob Reiner, who tweeted: "So sad about Penny.
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." Marshall played the unrefined but lovable Laverne DeFazio on "Laverne & Shirley," a situation comedy that ran on the ABC network from 1976 to 1983, following the lives of two single women and their nutty friends in 1950s and '60s Milwaukee.
She turned to directing after her series ended.
Her first film was the underwhelming 1986 Whoopi Goldberg comedy "Jumpin' Jack Flash," but that was followed by the charming 1988 hit "Big," starring fellow former TV sitcom star Tom Hanks.
Her other movies included "A League of Their Own," "The Preacher's Wife, "Riding in Cars with Boys" and "Awakenings."