Penny Marshall 1943 - 2018

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    Penny Marshall, who starred in "Laverne & Shirley," died at her Hollywood Hills home on Dec. 18. She was 75. A publicist for Marshall told Fox News that the actress died from complications due to diabetes.
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    The New York-born actress rose to fame from her hit 1970s sitcom "Laverne & Shirley." She starred as Laverne DeFazio, the Milwaukee brewery worker, alongside Cindy Williams in the hit ABC comedy show. The series, which aired from 1976 to 1983, was among the biggest hits of its era.
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    "Almost everyone had a theory about why 'Laverne & Shirley' took off," Marshall wrote in her 2012 memoir "My Mother Was Nuts." ''I thought it was simply because Laverne and Shirley were poor and there were no poor people on TV, but there were plenty of them sitting at home and watching TV."
    Reuters
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    Marshall became the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million. Her 1988 hit comedy "Big," starring Tom Hanks, was about a 12-year-old boy who wakes up in the body of a 30-year-old New York City man.
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    Marshall's early success in a field where few women rose so high made her an inspiration to other aspiring female filmmakers. In between "Big" and "A League of Their Own," Marshall made the Oliver Sacks adaptation "Awakenings," with Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. The medical drama, while not as successful at the box office, became only the second film directed by a woman nominated for best picture.
    Reuters
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    Marshall's passing was felt across film, television and comedy. "Big" producer James L. Brooks praised her for making "films which celebrated humans" and for her helping hand to young comedians and writers. "To many of us lost ones she was, at the time, the world's greatest den mother."
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