Cindy Williams, the beloved star of ’70s sitcom “Laverne & Shirley,” has died at age 75 after a brief illness, her children said in a statement on Monday.
Williams died Jan. 25 at her home in Los Angeles her children, Zak and Emily Hudson, said in a statement released through family spokeswoman Liza Crani, according to the Associated Press.
“The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed,” the statement said. “Knowing and loving her has been our joy and privilege. She was one of a kind, beautiful, generous and possessed a brilliant sense of humor and a glittering spirit that everyone loved.”
The news of her death was also posted to her official site, with the message, “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Cindy Williams. Cindy lit up our lives with laughter.”
Williams also had a featured role in George Lucas’ 1973 classic “American Graffiti” opposite Ron Howard, a role that earned her a BAFTA nomination. She reprised her role in 1979’s “More American Graffiti” and also played a pivotal role in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 thriller “The Conversation.”
She was born on Aug, 22, 1947 in Los Angeles and majored in theater at Los Angeles City College. Her first roles included guest spots on “Love, American Style” and “Room 222.”
In 1975, she landed the role of Shirley Feeney on an episode of “Happy Days” alongside Penny Marshall as Laverne De Fazio. That led to the hit spinoff which ran from 1976 to 1982 about two best friends who work at a Milwaukee brewery. The role earned Williams a Golden Globe nomination in 1978.
She returned to TV in 1990 with the short-lived series “Normal Life,” and later starred in the sitcom “Getting By” from “Laverne & Shirley” producers Thomas L. Miller and Robert L. Boyett. She and Marshall reunited in 2002 for the special “Laverne & Shirley: Together Again.”
One of her last TV guest appearances were a 2004 episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and a 2016 episode of the Matthew Perry/Thomas Lennon reboot “Odd Couple.”
Williams is survived by her children Emily and Zachary, whose father is Bill Hudson of The Hudson Brothers.
Actor/director Marshall, who played Laverne to her Shirley, died on Dec. 17, 2018. She was also 75.