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Cindy Williams, best known for her role as Shirley in ‘Laverne & Shirley,’ dies at 75

Williams died peacefully Wednesday in Los Angeles after a short illness, her family said.
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LOS ANGELES — Actor Cindy Williams, best known for her role in the "Laverne & Shirley" TV sitcom, has died at 75, her family said Monday.

Williams died peacefully Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles after a short illness, her children said in a statement released by family spokesperson Liza Cranis.

"The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed," they said in the statement.

"Knowing and loving her has been our joy and privilege," the statement said. "She was one of a kind, beautiful, generous and possessed a brilliant sense of humor and a glittering spirit that everyone loved."

Williams starred as Shirley Feeney opposite Penny Marshall, who played Laverne DeFazio, in the popular “‘Laverne & Shirley” series, which ran from 1976 to 1983.

FILE - Penny Marshal, left, and Cindy Williams from the comedy series "Laverne & Shirley" appear at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 9, 1979. Williams, who played Shirley opposite Marshall's Laverne on the popular sitcom "Laverne & Shirley," died Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Los Angeles at age 75, her family said Monday, Jan. 30. (AP Photo/George Brich, File)
Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 9, 1979.George Brich / AP file

“Laverne & Shirley,” a spinoff of “Happy Days,” starred Williams and Marshall as roommates who work in a Milwaukee bottling plant. Williams’ character was the more straitlaced of the pair.

Marshall died in 2018 at 75.

Williams also appeared in the 1973 film “American Graffiti" and the 1974 film “The Conversation.”

“Laverne & Shirley,” like "Happy Days," was created by Garry Marshall, Penny Marshall's brother. Penny Marshall landed her breakthrough role in the mid-'70s with his help.

The show was among the most popular on television in its prime. Garry Marshall died in 2016.

Henry Winkler, who played The Fonz in “Happy Days,” was among those mourning Williams.

“Cindy has been my friend and professional colleague since I met her on the set of ‘Happy Days’ in 1975. Not once have I ever been in her presence when she wasn’t gracious, thoughtful and kind,” Winkler said.

"Cindy’s talent was limitless. There was not a genre she could not conquer. I am so glad I knew her," he said.

Williams was born in Van Nuys in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley.

She had two children, Emily and Zak. They said that their mother was devoted to rescuing animals and her faith, and that she wanted the world to laugh.

"May that laughter continue in everyone, because she would want that," they said in the statement. "Thank you for loving our Mom, she loved you too."