December 19, 2018 - 11:24 AMT
Laverne & Shirley star Penny Marshall dies aged 75

Penny Marshall, who starred in the hit American sitcom Laverne & Shirley before becoming one of the top-grossing female directors in Hollywood, has died at 75, The Guardian reports.

Marshall’s publicist said she passed away at her home in the Hollywood Hills, California, on Monday due to complications from diabetes.

Marshall played Laverne, starring alongside Cindy Williams as Shirley, in the hit ABC comedy that aired from 1976 to 1983.

As a film-maker, she became the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100m with Big, the 1988 comedy starring Tom Hanks. She also directed A League of Their Own, Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Awakenings.

Fellow film-makers and performers paid tribute on Twitter. The director Rob Reiner, who was married to Marshall from 1971 to 1981, wrote: “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.”

Hanks wrote: “Goodbye, Penny. Man, did we laugh a lot! Wish we still could. Love you. Hanx.”