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Hollywood Pays Tribute to ‘Trailblazer,’ ‘Pioneer’ Penny Marshall

Stars across Hollywood are mourning Penny Marshall, who died Monday night at her Hollywood Hills home due to complications from diabetes, Variety has confirmed. The “Laverne & Shirley” star was 75.

Marshall first rose to fame playing Laverne DeFazio in the hit ABC series “Laverne & Shirley” before going on to become the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million and the first woman to direct two films that grossed more than $100 million. She was also only the second woman director to see her film Oscar-nominated for best picture.

Rob Reiner, her ex-husband of eight years, remembered his relationship with Marshall fondly, praising her gift for comedy and her natural funny bone. “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” he wrote on Twitter.

Cindy Williams, the Shirley to Marshall’s Laverne on the classic sitcom, tweeted a fitting tribute: a photo of the “L” Marshall had emblazoned on the sweaters she wore on the show.

Rosie O’Donnell similarly took to Twitter to pay her respects. O’Donnell, who starred in Marshall’s 1992 film “A League of Their Own,” shared a clip of herself acting alongside the late actress in a 1996 Kmart commercial. “simply heartbroken,” she wrote at the end of the post.

Tom Hanks, who starred in Marshall’s hit comedy “Big,” remembered the times he laughed alongside the late director. “Goodbye, Penny. Man, did we laugh a lot! Wish we still could. Love you. Hanx,” he wrote. Together, the pair brought in more than $150 million worldwide with “Big,” making it the first film directed by a woman to cross $100 million. Later on, Hanks would go on to star in “A League of Their Own,” yet another successful film from Marshall about two sisters who join the first female professional baseball league.

Robert De Niro also mourned the loss of Marshall, writing in a statement, “Penny will be missed.  May she Rest in Peace.” De Niro starred in Marshall’s third film “Awakenings” alongside Robin Williams, nabbing the actor an Academy Award nomination for his performance.

Geena Davis, who starred in Marshall’s 1992 film “A League of Their Own,” thanked the late director for her role in the film. “I’m terribly sad to hear the news about Penny passing. My heart goes out to Tracy Reiner and her family. Penny brought so much joy to so many and will be sorely missed. I will be forever grateful to her for letting me be a part of ‘A League of Their Own,'” she said in a statement.

Many of Marshall’s cast mates also remembered her legacy, including several members of the sitcom “Happy Days,” where Marshall’s character Laverne DeFazio was first introduced. Anson Williams, who played Potsie on the show, said in a statement, “Penny was as courageous as she was talented, and broke down the wall for women directors. Penny will be missed, but her talent and inspiration is evergreen.”

“Happy Days” matriarch Marion Ross said, “Our dear sweet Penny has gone up to see Garry. So, there will no doubt be
happier days in heaven, just as they made every day happy for us here on earth.”

Don Most, who played Ralph, said, “So sad to hear about Penny’s passing.  She was a very funny, gifted and deceptively smart woman.  There will be a lot more laughs up in heaven. RIP Penny.”

Read more reactions below.

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