Tributes have been paid to American actress Cindy Williams, who starred in the popular sitcom Laverne & Shirley, following her death aged 75.
Williams was among the most recognisable stars in America in the 1970s and 1980s for her role as Shirley opposite Penny Marshall’s Laverne in the Happy Days spinoff.
She died in Los Angeles last on Wednesday after a brief illness, her children, Zak and Emily Hudson, said in a statement.
“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.”
Williams worked with some of Hollywood’s top directors in a film career that preceded her full-time move to television, appearing in George Cukor’s 1972 movieTravels With My Aunt, George Lucas’s American Graffiti (1973), and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation from 1974.
But she was by far best known for Laverne & Shirley, the Happy Days spinoff that ran on ABC from 1976 to 1983 that in its prime was among the most popular shows on TV.
Williams played the straitlaced Shirley Feeney to Marshall’s more libertine Laverne DeFazio on the show about a pair of blue-collar roommates who toiled on the assembly line of a Milwaukee brewery in the 1950s and 1960s.
Actor Rosario Dawson shared a video of the opening theme on Twitter.
Singing this song with so much gratitude for both of you ladies. Absolute gems. United again… Rest in Paradise Cindy Williams https://t.co/G9LVZfym0s
— Rosario Dawson (@rosariodawson) January 31, 2023
“Singing this song with so much gratitude for both of you ladies,” Dawson tweeted. “Absolute gems. United again- Rest in Paradise Cindy Williams.”
The show also starred Michael McKean and David Lander as Laverne and Shirley’s oddball hangers-on Lenny and Squiggy. Lander died in 2020.
McKean paid tribute to Williams on Twitter with a memory from the production.
“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,” McKean tweeted. “Cindy scoots by me to make her entrance and with a glorious grin, says: `Show’s cookin’!’ Amen. Thank you, Cindy.”
Williams was married to singer Bill Hudson of musical group the Hudson Brothers from 1982 until 2000. Hudson was father to her two children. He was previously married to Goldie Hawn and is also the father of actor Kate Hudson.