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.
MeTV will be remembering Cindy Williams with four episodes of Laverne & Shirley specially picked by Williams as some of her favorites. Join us in remembering Williams this Sunday, February 5 at 4P | 3C.
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.”