R.I.P. Cindy Williams, Shirley Feeney from Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley

The classic actress was nominated for a BAFTA for her role opposite Ron Howard in American Graffiti.

The Everett Collection

Cindy Williams, best known for her role as Shirley Feeney from Happy Days and the popular spin-off, Laverne & Shirley, has passed away at the age of 75.

Even before landing a role as the bottle-capper Shirley, Williams already made a name for herself in films like Travels With My Aunt and Franis Ford Coppola's The Conversation. Her most notable movie role, though, was arguably the 1973 coming-of-age film American Graffiti, where she played the girlfriend of Ron Howard. As the high school sweetheart who refuses to be left behind, Williams was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

It wouldn't be the last time Williams played opposite Howard. In 1975, they would reunite on Happy Days, where Williams and Penny Marshall, playing Laverne De Fazio, played "sure thing" dates for Richie (Howard) and Fonzie (Henry Winkler). The combo of Williams and Marshall as Laverne and Shirley was so popular that they soon received their own spin-off show.

Laverne & Shirley proved to be immensely successful, at one point becoming the highest-rated show on television. The series followed the best friends working as bottle-cappers in Milwaulkee, Wisconsin. As Shirley, Williams charmed audiences with her stuffed toy "Boo Boo Kitty" and her on-again, off-again romance with Carmine "The Big Ragoo" Ragusa. 

Williams left during the show's eighth and final season after she became pregnant with her first child. The show was soon re-imagined as an animated series in 1981, Laverne & Shirley in the Army, with Williams returning to voice her character for the first season.

Marshall and Williams reunited the characters of Laverne & Shirley in the 2002 reunion, Laverne & Shirley: Together Again in a comedy sketch during the special. That wouldn't be the last time the two friends worked together — even as late as 2013 Marshall and Williams appeared together in an episode of the Nickelodeon show Sam & Cat, where they played creators of a 1970s puppet show.

“The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed,” said a Williams family spokeswoman. “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.”

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71 Comments

JHP 5 months ago
I actually met Cindy in a casino in Montreal CA - maybe 1998 or 97

pleasant beautiful woman.... a high spot in my life fer sure,,, to share a drink or 2 with her was super delightful
LalaLucy 16 months ago
Another very dear, very funny one gone. Prayers to all mourning her loss.
Matsui 16 months ago
RIP Cindy Williams. I will mostly remember her from my favorite movie "American Graffitti" 1973 and TV shows "Happy Days" and "Laverne & Shirley".
327053 16 months ago
Here I am at 45 thinking all my tv heroes are still my age. During the pandemic my wife and I decided to see all of the shows we grew up on. Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Threes Company, MASH, Cheer’s, and Taxi.
We couldn’t get enough of Penny and Cindy. So sad that many of these wonderful actors have passed on. At least we’ll always have the memories they created for us.😞❤️‍🩹
Seabudd1 16 months ago
Just joined. R.I.P. Cindy Williams.
McGillahooala 16 months ago
Rest in peace, Cindy Williams. You brought a lot of joy to a lot of people.
Coldnorth McGillahooala 16 months ago
Whenever I watch L&S it seems like they really were best friends. They had chemistry in those roles. I enjoyed the episodes that had Vickie Lawrence in. The army episodes. Their show along with Happy Days always made me happy. Shirley was a great actress. R.I.P.
JL1965 16 months ago
So sad to hear of Cindy Williams passing . Losing another TV icon we grew up with .. She is now with Lavern again . RIP Sweet Lady and thank you for the memories and laughs .
JL1965 16 months ago
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leannie429 16 months ago
Geez, it seems like everybody who was anybody has passed lately. I loved how Shirley was forever upbeat, positive, & a romantic!
CoreyC 16 months ago
So sad Cindy died at the 50 anniversary of American Graffiti. I wonder if they do an anniversary special will they do a tribute for Cindy.
Coldnorth CoreyC 16 months ago
American Graffiti is 50 years old? I didn’t realize that
CoreyC Coldnorth 16 months ago
I saw American Graffiti in the movies when I was 10.
Coldnorth CoreyC 16 months ago
I wasn’t 10 but close. When I watch it on dvd, Cindy looked the same age on l&s. She aged well
JayFlo Coldnorth 5 months ago
This coming year, Happy Days will be 50.
RobertReynolds 16 months ago
Sorry to hear Cindy Williams passing
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16 months ago
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CoreyC 16 months ago
Laverne & Shirley the original 2 Broke Girls.
327053 16 months ago
Very true! Never thought of that
JHP 16 months ago
Well this is my claim to fame

I was in Montreal Que at the casino bar (maybe '97-'98). She was there and I was on business but ultra casual wearing my GB Packer garb. She noticed me and we talked about Milw and Wis for almost an hour). Something I will never forget. Sweet beautiful woman:). Again another positive goes to negative. Happening way too often (and then I am the same age as Lisa Loring - another treasure buried:()
Bapa1 16 months ago
Is Michael McKean the only surviving member of the cast?
CoreyC Bapa1 16 months ago
The original but there is Ed Marinaro and Leslie Easterbrook went they went to California.
Bapa1 16 months ago
RIP. not a fan of the show, but do appreciate her work.
JHP Bapa1 16 months ago
Me 2
abuadamin 16 months ago
RIP, Cindy Williams… Thank you for all the wonderful memories
DeePoppy 16 months ago
She's an Icon, and remember all her enthusiasm for her roles with fondness. RIP Cindy ❣️
tootsieg 16 months ago
Very sorry to hear about Ms. Williams passing. Very sad.
R.I.P. Shirley.
woodtree65 16 months ago
Cindy Williams had a part in the French Connection movie.
327053 woodtree65 16 months ago
Really??? What part?😮
JayFlo woodtree65 5 months ago
She was in 'The Conversation' with Frederic Forrest, who has also passed away.
cperrynaples 16 months ago
Another oversight by the staff! The L&S cartoon preceded Williams' departure from the series! Fun Fact: The cartoon spun off from an eplsode in which Vicki Lawrence played a sorta female Sgt. Carter! They also forgot that both Marshall & Williams appeared in an episode of The Odd Couple reboot which paid tribute to Garry Marshall!
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vinman63 JHP 16 months ago
Car 54 on Tubi.
JHP vinman63 16 months ago
Thanks for the info:) - but I would never do any streaming

For one thing - It's not free - your internet service provider charges users for data sent and received on the coax or fiber and from the stories I get from those that stream ; the charges vary and can be scary
vinman63 JHP 16 months ago
My understanding since Tubi shows ads it's free streaming. Whether cable internet charges I am unaware.
JHP vinman63 16 months ago
Oops I may be wrong then - don't know either but rule of thumb says that streaming involves data usage
DethBiz 16 months ago
RIP Cindy Williams. Thanks for some good tv memories. She was great out of her element in Perry Mason The Case of the Poisoned Pen.
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