Sad news is coming in as it’s been reported that television legend Cindy Williams has died. Per THR, the Laverne & Shirley star passed away on Wednesday in L.A. following a brief illness. Her death was confirmed in a statement released by her children, Zak and Emily Hudson. She was 75 years old.
The statement reads, “The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed. 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 was born on Aug. 22, 1947. After graduating from L.A. City College with a theater major, Williams started her show business career in commercials. She’d end up landing notable roles in a handful of films in the 1970s, including the George Lucas hit American Graffiti in which she played Ron Howard’s love interest; the role earned Williams a BAFTA nomination. Williams also co-starred with Gene Hackman in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation.
Williams is best known for playing Shirley Feeney in Laverne & Shirley, though she first played the character in an appearance in Happy Days. She appeared along with co-star Penny Marshall, and when their appearance was a hit with fans, itw as decided that the two should have their own spinoff series. Laverne & Shirley was born, creating one of TV’s all-time greatest sitcoms. The show spanned eight seasons from 1976 to 1983, ending when Williams became pregnant. Williams would also voice the same character for one season of the animated spinoff Laverne & Shirley in the Army. In 2002, she reunited with Marshall, who passed away in 2018, for a Laverne & Shirley TV special.
In subsequent years, Williams would appear in many other TV shows. Some of her small screen credits include roles in Normal Life, Getting By, Touched by an Angel, Strip Mall, 7th Heaven, 8 Simple Rules, Law & Order: SVU, Sam & Cat, and The Odd Couple. She also would appear in a variety of movies over the decades, which includes reprising her American Graffiti role for the sequel More American Graffiti. Williams’ other film credits include Big Man on Campus, Meet Wally Sparks, and The Biggest Fan. Her final role was in the 2020 dramedy Canaan Land.
Williams was married once, wedding Bill Hudson in 1982 before the pair divorced in 2000. Along with their children, Zak and Emily, Williams’ survivors include a goddaughter, Amanda – the daughter of Ed Begley Jr. Our thoughts go out to the family and friends at this difficult time. Rest in peace, Cindy Williams.