The Italian American actress Cindy Williams, who was Shirley in "Laverne & Shirley," has died

Jan 31, 2023 828

The Italian American actress Cindy Williams, best known for playing the role of Shirley on the American sitcom Laverne & Shirley in the mid-1970s and early 1980s, has died at age 75. Williams died in Los Angeles after a brief illness: the news was given Monday evening by her family. Cindy Williams was born in Los Angeles in 1947 and was of Italian descent: she was born the daughter of Francesca Bellini.

The role for which she became most famous was that of Shirley Feeney, who first appeared together with her friend Laverne De Fazio (played by actress Penny Marshall, whose real name was Carole Penelope Masciarelli, evidently also with Italian roots) in the famous series Happy Days: the two characters liked them so much that a spin-off was created just around them.

Laverne & Shirley aired on Abc from 1976 to 1983 and for years remained among the most watched TV series in the US. Her character, Shirley, was the stern counterpart to the more bookish Laverne. The two, roommates, were the stars of the show that showed their lives as employees in the Milwaukee bottling plant.

Williams was one of the best-known and best-loved actresses on the American stage in the 1970s and 1980s. Her work also includes American Graffiti, by Star Wars director George Lucas, and The Conversation, a script directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

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