On Monday, the family of Cindy Williams announced her passing. Known famously for her portrayal as Shirley opposite Penny Marshall’s Laverne in the beloved 1970s sitcom “Laverne & Shirley,” she will be missed dearly by many fans around the world.

After a short illness, Williams sadly passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 75 on January 25th. Her children Zak and Emily Hudson released a joint statement about their beloved mother via family spokeswoman Liza Cranis.

“The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed,” the statement read. “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 left an indelible mark on the film industry when she starred in George Lucas’s 1973 masterpiece ‘American Graffiti’, for which she was even nominated for a BAFTA Award as Best Supporting Actress. She also brought her unique flair to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 classic, ‘The Conversation’.

But the role that she was most renowned for was her iconic performance in “Laverne & Shirley,” a spin-off of “Happy Days” on ABC. The show achieved astronomical ratings, becoming one of the top shows on television during its peak and running from 1976 to 1983.

Williams, who was recently nominated for a Golden Globe award, portrayed the rigid Shirley to Marshall’s more free-spirited Laverne on the show. Set in 1950s and ’60s Milwaukee, it follows two blue-collar workers living together as roommates at a bottling factory.

“We sort of had telepathy,” In a 2013 interview for the TV Academy Foundation, Williams fondly reflected on collaborating with Marshall.“If we walk into a room together and if there’s something unique in the room, we’ll see it at the same time and have the same comment about it. We were always just like that.”

The late Garry Marshall, the brother of Penny, discovered an area to delve into that he was eager to explore.

“There are no shows about blue-collar girls on the air,” In 2000, he recollected to the Television Academy how he successfully sold his concept to then-ABC leader Fred Silverman.

“He said, ‘It’s on! What’s its name?’” Marshall said. “I said, ‘Laverne & Shirley.’ ‘Good, I love it!’”

Not only did Williams and the late Penny Marshall heavily influence the show’s quality, but they even rewrote parts of it themselves. In 2018, at age 75, Marshall passed away – a great loss to all.

“We had a litmus test, which was if the script made Penny and me laugh out loud. That’s what we were going for … to make the studio audience laugh out loud, then we figured it would translate to the audience at home,” Williams said in an interview. “So, if it made us laugh out loud at rehearsal, then we knew it was good to go. When it didn’t, we would rewrite it, or try and put things in that made it funny. Once we got the show on its feet and started moving around, we would add things, add lines, and ad-lib. The whole cast would.”

She was amazed that the show could push its luck with humor, as it transpired their censor was a born-again Christian, Williams from California revealed.

“Great guy, but he just wouldn’t let us say things, so it made the show even better because it made us have to invent words and phrases around those limitations,” she stated in a 2021 interview. “We couldn’t just refer to certain words for our saucy humor. We had to resort to what I would call risqué church camp humor.”

“We would substitute the word [sex] for ‘vodeo doe,’” she added, referring to the show’s popular made-up phrase for carnal doings. “We always thought that our born-again Christian sensor made ‘Laverne & Shirley’ funnier, because it involved clean humor, which everybody really enjoys whether they know it or not.”

The classic sitcom “Laverne & Shirley” was as much celebrated for its catchy, unforgettable opening theme song as for the show itself. Laverne and Shirley’s cheerful chant of “schlemiel, schlimazel” while skipping together has become a fondly remembered piece of pop culture that continues to be referenced throughout society even today.

Throughout her illustrious career, Williams graced the screen in a plethora of popular television series and made-for-TV films such as “Lois & Clark: The Adventures of Superman”, “Touched By an Angel,” “7th Heaven”, “CHiPs”, “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”, “Police Story,” “Cannon,” “Love American Style,” “Room 222″ and most notably Hawaii Five-0.”

Although she tried out for the role of Princess Leia in George Lucas’ legendary blockbuster movie, “Star Wars,” unfortunately Carrie Fisher was chosen instead.

“It can all be accomplished, but you have to always stay yourself. You have to keep your sense of humor,” she said. “If you get knocked down, you have to get right back up and just keep going.”

After Williams became pregnant, she only appeared in a few episodes for the last season of “Laverne & Shirley.” To ensure full payment from Paramount, Williams brought suit against them for $20 million in 1982. While an undisclosed agreement was reached at settlement and Penny Marshall continued to star until the series finale, this case highlighted how much women actresses were being underpaid by media conglomerates during that time period.

As expressed on her website, she has been part of several stage productions such as “Grease” and “Steel Magnolias.” She even starred alongside Elliot Gould in the hit show “Deathtrap”. In 2007, she made a grand entrance onto Broadway with The Drowsy Chaperone; this performance won five Tony Awards!

After tying the knot with Bill Hudson of the renowned Hudson Brothers in 1982, Williams and her husband parted ways 18 years later in 2000.