Cindy Williams, well-known for her role in the comedy Laverne and Shirley, died at the age of 75. Her children, Zak and Emily Hudson, confirmed her death in a statement to The Associated Press on January 30, revealing that Williams died after a short illness on Wednesday, January 25.
“The departure of our wonderful, humorous mother, Cindy Williams, has given us immeasurable pain that could never properly be communicated. It has been a delight and honor to know and love her. She was one of a kind, attractive, and giving, with a wonderful sense of humor and a sparkling attitude that everyone adored.”
Cindy Williams came to prominence after appearing in George Lucas’ drama-comedy American Graffiti and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation. From 1976 through 1983, she was a household name as the eponymous Shirley in Laverne & Shirley, opposite Penny Marshall.
Reactions on Twitter to Cindy Williams’ death
Following the announcement of Cindy Williams’ passing, Twitterati expressed their respects. Several users recalled Williams’ contributions to the entertainment business and uploaded clips from her well-known work throughout the years.
I had the privilege to direct Cindy Williams in an indie film called Stealing Roses (with John Heard). She was talented, kind and so funny. RIP Cindy. ?❤️? pic.twitter.com/qzCMl0giQy
— Meg Foster (@TheMegFoster) January 31, 2023
George Lucas made a classic in 1973 with #AmericanGraffiti. Lovely characters, a now legendary cast, terrific soundtrack and an unforgettable #CindyWilliams as Laurie. So sad she passed away. This scene is cinema gold: pic.twitter.com/QhvEk1BmZ3
— George Fabelman (@jorgegavila) January 31, 2023
Cindy Williams has sued Paramount for $20 million.
Cindy Williams was born in Los Angeles, California on August 22, 1947. She made her acting debut as Lydia in My World and Welcome to It in 1970. Other films in which she has appeared include Barefoot in the Park, Drive, He Said, Room 222, and Beware! Among the many films are The Blob, The Killing Kind, Hawaii Five-O, Cannon, Police Story, More American Graffiti, The Creature Wasn’t Nice, When Dreams Come True, and Tricks of the Trade. Williams told The Los Angeles Times in 1993 about how she prepared for the roles that made her a household name:
“When you meet folks with similar views, it’s entertaining and lovely to watch them. The attitudes of the characters reflect characteristics of oneself. Typically, the characters you portray in sitcoms are close to you. They are rhythms inside yourself that you play really well.”
Williams married her Room 222 co-star Bill Hudson in 1982. They had two children together, Emily and Zachary, before splitting up in 2000. Cindy appeared on Laverne & Shirley through the seventh season and did not return for the eighth due to her marriage and pregnancy. She said on the Today program in 2015 how her contract required her to work on her due date.
“I imagined I’d come back and they’d cover [the baby bump] beneath benches, sofas, and pillows, but that wasn’t the case. When it came time to sign my contract for that season, they had me working on my baby’s due date. ‘You know, I can’t sign this,’ I remarked. And it went back and forth and back again, and it never got resolved.”
She filed a $20 million lawsuit against Paramount and the show’s producer, which was eventually resolved. According to Us Weekly, Cindy Williams claimed that despite her celebrity, she kept loyal to herself since she hailed from a “regular home.”
“I’ve been through some strange periods in my life. In the 1960s, I was a hippy. But, in general, I’m rather typical. At night, I like to walk around the house and turn out all the lights. I sometimes return the hangers to the dry cleaners so they may be reused.”
On the professional front, she was most recently seen as Luann on The Pack Podcast.