Cindy Williams, who rose to fame on the iconic sitcom Laverne and Shirley, sadly passed away on Wednesday, January 25 at the age of 75, following a brief illness.
Williams’ children announced her death on Monday, January 31 in a statement in which they conveyed their “insurmountable sadness”.
“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 humour and a glittering spirit that everyone loved.”
Born August 22, 1947, Williams began her acting pursuits at an early age with performances at a local church.
She later attended Los Angeles City College where she majored in theatre. Upon her graduation, Williams began appearing in commercials and later secured roles in television shows such as Room 222 and American Style.
Williams made the move to film with roles in movies such as Travels with My Aunt, American Graffiti, and The Conversation.
In 1975, Williams guest starred as gregarious brewery bottle capper, Shirley Feeney, in an episode of Happy Days alongside Penny Marshall, who played her best friend and roommate Laverne De Fazio.
The positive reception that the two characters received led to a spin off series for the pair, titled Laverne and Shirley.
Williams remained with the series from 1976 until 1982, which at one point was the number one rated show on television. Williams received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Shirley.
Williams made a return to television in the 1990s in the short lived sitcom Normal Life and later in the family sitcom Getting By.
In addition to her television roles, Williams performed onstage with national tours of Grease, Deathtrap and Moon Over Buffalo. She made her Broadway debut as Mrs. Tottendale in The Drowsy Chaperone at the Marquis Theatre on December 11, 2007.
As news broke of Williams’ passing, fans joined those in the entertainment industry in mourning the late actress, many taking solace in the thought that Laverne and Shirley are “together again”.
Cindy Williams (1947-2023): pic.twitter.com/WOf4FD310S
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) January 31, 2023
Oh man, we lost another one!
Cindy Williams, aka Shirley Feeney from Laverne and Shirley, has passed at 75.
RIP Cindy Williams.???????? pic.twitter.com/1qxLQVUt6m
— BrooklynDad_Defiant!☮️ (@mmpadellan) January 31, 2023
Sad to hear the passing of Cindy Williams.
If there is an afterlife, may you and Penny be pouring a Shotz beer and Milk and Pepsi with Garry, David, Eddie and Phil. pic.twitter.com/MYERLOgZsG
— Danny Deraney (@DannyDeraney) January 31, 2023
Laverne & Shirley together again…Rest in Peace Cindy Williams… pic.twitter.com/vqOUcyMFO0
— Anita Oviedo (@anitao68) January 31, 2023
RIP Cindy Williams
I know most people love her from LAVERNE & SHIRLEY but I always think of her in AMERICAN GRAFFITI and how terrific she was in it. pic.twitter.com/0HYcOt1jON
— My Name Isn’t Jesus (@TheCarlGerber) January 31, 2023
I did not know Cindy Williams but boy did I adore her work, especially the wacky joyful funny pleasure of watching her Laverne and Shirley days. I pray she had a good life and send my sympathy to those who knew and loved her. #RIPCindyWilliams
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) January 31, 2023
— valerie perrine (@TheValPerrine) January 31, 2023
I am so sad to hear of the passing of Cindy Williams. I watched her on television as a child and then later in life we connected. She came to my 50th birthday party in Baltimore. We had so much fun! We connected through writing books and the rest is herstory! Rest well Cindy! pic.twitter.com/5VzyI7WByy
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) January 31, 2023
RIP Cindy Williams
The moment the world met Laverne and Shirley on the show Happy Dayspic.twitter.com/WxqdUcz3vf
— Gary FrostGermanotta (@frostygary) January 31, 2023
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
These two revolutionized strong female friendships on TV. I was gutted when Penny died, and today I’m so sorry to hear that Cindy Williams has left us, too. pic.twitter.com/3LBf1HvVq8
— Lara Gabrielle (@backlotsfilm) January 31, 2023
Williams is survived by her children, Emily and Zak Hudson.