The world of entertainment mourns the loss of Cindy Williams, the beloved actress best known for her role as Shirley Feeney on the 1970s sitcom “Laverne & Shirley.” Williams passed away on Wednesday in Los Angeles at the age of 75, after a brief illness.
Williams first gained recognition for her role as Laurie in the 1973 film “American Graffiti,” which earned her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress from the British Academy Film Awards. She also auditioned for the role of Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” franchise, although it eventually went to Carrie Fisher.
However, it was her role as the demure, upbeat Shirley Feeney on “Laverne & Shirley” that truly defined her career. The show ran for eight seasons and was one of the highest-rated shows in the country for several years. Williams appeared in more than 150 episodes before leaving the show in its final season due to creative differences with her co-star Penny Marshall.
In her 2015 memoir “Shirley, I Jest! A Storied Life,” Williams wrote about her life growing up as a “Valley Girl” in Los Angeles and her career in entertainment. She had begun her career in television, appearing in shows like “Room 222,” “Nanny and the Professor,” and “Love, American Style.” Later in her career, Williams guest-starred on popular shows like “Law and Order: SVU” and “7th Heaven” and earned several stage credits, including the Broadway production of “The Drowsy Chaperone.”
Williams is survived by her children Emily and Zak Hudson, who released a statement describing their mother as “one of a kind,” with a “glittering spirit” and a great sense of humor.
Her death followed a brief illness, her assistant, Liza Cranis, said by phone, adding that Williams had died “peacefully.” No cause was given at the time.
Remembering the life and legacy of actress Cindy Williams. The “Laverne & Shirley” star passed away at 75. pic.twitter.com/4g5apTM9z5
— Good Morning America (@GMA) January 31, 2023