Laverne & Shirley star Cindy Williams has died aged 75.
Williams, best known for her role as Shirley Feeney in the classic 1970s sitcom, Laverne & Shirley, passed away in Los Angeles after a brief illness on 25 January.
“The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed,” her children Zak and Emily Hudson said in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday. “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.”
Williams experienced a career breakthrough in 1975 when she and Penny Marshall appeared on the TV sitcom Happy Days as best friends Shirley and Laverne DeFazio in a guest capacity. The characters were so popular that they got their own spin-off sitcom, Laverne & Shirley, which ran from 1976 to 1983.
Paying tribute to his Happy Days co-star, Henry Winkler said in a statement to Variety, “Cindy has been my friend and professional colleague since I met her on the set of Happy Days in 1975. Not once have I ever been in her presence when she wasn’t gracious, thoughtful and kind. Cindy’s talent was limitless. There was not a genre she could not conquer. I am so glad I knew her.”
Williams was also known for playing Laurie Henderson in George Lucas’ 1973 coming-of-age film American Graffiti, for which she received a BAFTA nomination, and starring in George Cukor’s Travels With My Aunt in 1972 and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation in 1974.
Her Happy Days and American Graffiti co-star Ron Howard tweeted, “Her unpretentious intelligence, talent, wit & humanity impacted every character she created & person she worked with. We were paired as actors on 6 different projects. #AmericanGraffiti a couple of dramas & then #HappyDays & #laverneandshirley Lucky me. RIP, Cindy.”
Williams was married to The Hudson Brothers singer Bill Hudson from 1982 to 2000. She is survived by their two children, Zak and Emily.
– Cover Media