Bronx-born director and actress Penny Marshall has died at age 75.
According to TMZ, Marshall passed away in her Hollywood home on Monday night due to complications from diabetes. She had been battling various health issues over the years, including a 2009 bout with lung cancer which spread to her brain.
Yes, we know Marshall as Laverne DeFazio on the TV classic “Laverne & Shirley,’’ however I truly believe she had the kind of trailblazing impact on American cinema that not many seemed to be aware of. She was a director, and, for a decent period of time, was delivering some worthy films. From 198 to 1992 Marshall delivered “Big,” the vastly underappreciated “Awakenings”, starring Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams. and the incredibly likable women's Baseball league movie “A League of Their Own." Those are the three films that catapulted her into Hollywood royalty, she wouldn't be able to ever again achieve those kind of artistic heights in the industry.
With her 1988 Tom Hanks-starring film "Big," Marshall became the first female director ever to direct a movie that grossed more than 100 million dollars at the box office. No small feat. She was sadly one of the few true feminine voices in Hollywood to sit in the director’s chair during the 1980’s. Who can forget the iconic piano dancing scene that was the centerpiece of the constantly copied, but never bettered film starring Hanks as a boy trapped in a grown man’s body.