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rest in peace

Laverne & Shirley star Cindy Williams dies at 75

Actress Cindy Williams, who starred as Shirley Feeney in the classic sitcom Laverne & Shirley, died Wednesday in Los Angeles following a brief illness, a family spokesperson told The Associated Press on Monday. She was 75.

In a statement, Williams' children, Zak and Emily Hudson, said: "The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed. 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 grew up in Van Nuys, California, and enjoyed putting on shows for her friends and family. Before studying at the Actors Studio West, Williams worked at a bank, law firm, and the Whisky a Go Go club. She worked in theater before transitioning to movies and television, starring in American Graffiti and The Conversation, and lost the Star Wars role of Princess Leia to Carrie Fisher.

With her friend Penny Marshall, Williams was asked to write a television spoof, and a few months later they were approached by Marshall's brother, Garry, who asked them to guest star on his series Happy Days. This led to the spinoff Laverne & Shirley, which ran from 1976 to 1983; Williams left the series in 1982. She shared a look at her life in the one woman show Me, Myself, and Shirley and her memoir, Shirley, I Jest! A Storied Life.