Cindy Williams, a 'truly kind woman with a big heart,' celebrated by Hollywood peers
Hollywood is mourning the loss of comedian and "Laverne & Shirley" actor Cindy Williams, who has died at age 75.
The actor, known for portraying Shirley Feeney on the "Happy Days" spinoff died Wednesday after a brief illness, her children, Zak and Emily Hudson, announced in a statement shared with the Associated Press on Monday.
“The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed,” the statement said. “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.”
Hours after news of the actor's death, Michael McKean, the last surviving star of "Laverne & Shirley," paid tribute. In a statement shared with the Los Angeles Times on Monday evening, McKean said Williams "was so talented and so game."
"When she and Penny [Marshall] were cooking there’s no one who could touch them," he said. "She was a truly kind woman with a big heart and I’m very sad she’s gone.”
On social media, McKean — who starred as Lenny Kosnowski — shared a behind-the-scenes memory of his "Laverne & Shirley" co-star.
Backstage, Season 1: I'm offstage waiting for a cue. The script's been a tough one, so we're giving it 110% and the audience is having a great time. Cindy scoots by me to make her entrance and with a glorious grin, says: "Show's cookin'!". Amen. Thank you, Cindy.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) January 31, 2023
"Backstage, Season 1: I'm offstage waiting for a cue. The script's been a tough one, so we're giving it 110% and the audience is having a great time," he tweeted. "Cindy scoots by me to make her entrance and with a glorious grin, says: 'Show's cookin'!'. Amen. Thank you, Cindy."
Also paying tribute to Williams on Twitter were "Seinfeld" comedian Jason Alexander, Rosario Dawson and Jackie Hoffman.
"I did not know Cindy Williams but boy did I adore her work, especially the wacky joyful funny pleasure of watching her Laverne and Shirley days," Alexander tweeted Monday. "I pray she had a good life and send my sympathy to those who knew and loved her. #RIPCindyWilliams"
I did not know Cindy Williams but boy did I adore her work, especially the wacky joyful funny pleasure of watching her Laverne and Shirley days. I pray she had a good life and send my sympathy to those who knew and loved her. #RIPCindyWilliams
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) January 31, 2023
Dawson retweeted a video of the "Laverne & Shirley" theme song, which featured Williams and her late co-star Penny Marshall, who died in 2018 at age 75.
"Singing this song with so much gratitude for both of you ladies. Absolute gems. United again," Dawson wrote. "Rest in Paradise Cindy Williams."
Emmy-nominated "Feud" actor Hoffman said her work in "Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies" on Paramount+ would "serve as a prayer of gratitude to the late Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall."
In an Instagram post shared Monday, filmmaker Nancy Meyers recalled how Williams helped make the "Father of the Bride" film and reflected on her collaborator's impact.
"She changed the course of my life and many others with that idea," Meyers captioned a photo of Williams. "And she never took credit for being responsible for that. Pretty unusual in Tinseltown."
"The Mandalorian" actor Ming-Na Wen, Pluto TV, the Golden Globe Awards, Ted Allen, Katie Couric ,the National Comedy Center, Perez Hilton and Yvette Nicole Brown also paid tribute to Williams on social media Monday.
"Oh how I loved Cindy Williams. When I was blessed to meet her on the set of @TheOddCoupleCBS she was as lovely as I always imagined she’d be," Brown said.
Williams was also known for the television series "Happy Days" "Normal Life" and "Getting By."
See more Twitter tributes to Williams below.
Rip Cindy Williams - fave is great iconic film and television performances - American graffiti the conversation - and Lavern and Shirley - of course - to name a few-
— John Cusack (@johncusack) January 31, 2023
RIP CINDY WILLIAMS
SCHLEMIEL & SCHLIMAZEL GOD
— Doug Benson (@DougBenson) January 31, 2023
Cindy Williams was one of the first prominent industry people to encourage me at the beginning of my career at the Groundlings Theatre. She was so lovely. And I loved making her laugh her dirty laugh. RIP Cindy.
— Michael McDonald (@mcdonaldcomedy) January 31, 2023
Times deputy editor Maane Khatchatourian contributed to this report.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.