Penny Marshall, the actress and director behind “Big” and “A League of Their Own,” has died at age 75. Marshall passed away during the evening of December 17 at her California home, the New York Daily News confirms. The director’s publicist, Michelle Bega, said she passed away peacefully and died “from complications from diabetes.”
Marshall rose to prominence in Hollywood during the 1970s thanks to her leading role as Laverne DeFazio on the ABC sitcom “Laverne & Shirley.” The series was the most-watched comedy on U.S. television during its third season and ran for a total of eight seasons and 178 episodes. Marshall was nominated three times for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Musical or Comedy.
As a director, Marshall broke barriers in Hollywood with her 1988 fantasy comedy “Big,” starring Tom Hanks and Elizabeth Perkins. The movie made Marshall the first female director to earn over $100 million at the box office. Marshall did the same in 1992 with her women-centric baseball movie “A League of Their Own,” also starring Tom Hanks opposite Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, and more.
Marshall’s directorial debut was the Whoopi Goldberg vehicle “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” Other popular films she directed included “The Preacher’s Wife,” “Riding in Cars With Boys,” and “Awakenings,” which starred Robert De Niro and Robin Williams and was nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture.
Marshall was also a producer, having worked on films such as Ron Howard’s “Cinderella Man” and the “Bewitched” remake, starring Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman. She also directed episodes of the television series “According to Jim” and “United States of Tara.” In recent years, Marshall made cameo appearances on the shows “Mulaney” and “The Odd Couple.”
Marshall is survived by her daughter, Tracy Reiner.