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Hollywood director Penny Marshall dies age 75

The director behind 'Big' and star of 'Laverne & Shirley' passed away at her home in the Hollywood Hills due to complications from her diabetes

Actress and director Penny Marshall arrives at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscars Party in West Hollywood, California. Reuters
Actress and director Penny Marshall arrives at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscars Party in West Hollywood, California. Reuters

Penny Marshall, the actress from American sitcom Laverne & Shirley, and director of films such as Big and A League of Their Own, has died age 75. She passed away peacefully on Monday (December 17) at her home in the Hollywood Hills due to complications from her diabetes, her publicist has confirmed.

Marshall was the first woman to direct a top-grossing Hollywood film. Big, the 1988 comedy starring Tom Hanks, grossed more than $100 million.

Fans leave tributes on Penny Marshall's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. AFP 
Fans leave tributes on Penny Marshall's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. AFP 

She also directed the 1980s spy action comedy Jumpin' Jack Flash, which starred Whoopi Goldberg, and the 1990 American drama Awakenings.

Famously, she also played Laverne, alongside Cindy Williams as Shirley, in the ABC comedy that ran from 1976 to 1983, which was a spin-off from Happy Days.

An outpouring of tributes from fellow filmmakers and Hollywood stars flooded Twitter.

Big star Tom Hanks wrote: "Man, did we laugh a lot! Wish we still could."

American actor Mike Colter (Luke Cage) also paid tribute, saying: "If you only gave us the film Big it would have been enough, but you gave us so much more!"

Ron Howard, who played Richie Cunningham in Happy Days, said he was lucky to have known and worked with her.

In 1992, Marshall achieved success again when the beloved women's baseball comedy A League of Their Own earned more than $100 million.

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Updated: December 19, 2018 01:07 PM

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