Penny Marshall's first TV roommate ever was actually Farrah Fawcett
Watch the Head & Shoulders commercial now.
Read to Me
Before Laverne DeFazio could meet Shirley Feeney in the mid-1970s, Penny Marshall had to move to Los Angeles. She did just that in 1967 when she joined her brother Garry Marshall, who at the time was fresh off a hit series as a writer on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Her first TV appearance would come soon after that, but it wasn't in a guest role on a hit series or even a bit part in a TV movie.
Instead, it was a commercial, and one of her first commercials ever was for the popular shampoo Head & Shoulders. And in that spot, she had a sensational co-star, cast to be her first-ever TV roomate. It was none other than Farrah Fawcett, whom Marshall remembered in an interview with the Archive of American Television, was a fresh face herself, recently arriving in L.A. from Texas. Marshall sums up the plot of the commercial and recalls meeting Fawcett for the first time:
"The Head & Shoulders commercial that I did was with Farrah Fawcett, who had just come out from Texas [and was a] very pretty nice girl, [arriving] with her mother. [In the commercial], I was the one with dandruff, and she, of course, was the one without dandruff, and she had to borrow my shampoo, and she liked it. That was one of my first commercials."
Watch the commercial below:
So as you can see, Cindy Williams was not Marshall's first TV roommate, although they definitely shared a dynamic in their apartment that seemed much more fun. In the interview, Marshall remembered what it was like to shoot commercials, how exhausting it was doing takes "over and over," and how even her work in theater didn't prepare her for the director prompting her to roll her eyes as hard as possible at Fawcett for the last take of the commercial.
But when it came to working with Fawcett, Marshall got tender in the interview, saying, "She was a nice girl." You can almost imagine the pair, linking arms and going off at the end of the spot, maybe even kicking their feet and singing a song, showing off the shiniest hair on the street. Both actors would go on to star in their own hit series the exact same year, practically rising up in the industry in sync, with Marshall on Laverne & Shirley and Fawcett on Charlie's Angels, both shows premiering in 1976.