Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley Star, Dies at 75

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Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!

Everyone of a certain age remembers the kickoff of the Laverne & Shirley theme song, and today, we imagine Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams singing from the heavenly skies once again.

Cindy Williams died today at 75 after a brief illness.

Cindy Williams at the TV Land Awards in 2012

Williams is best known for her work on Laverne & Shirley, but she had over 80 movie and TV roles during her career.

Her first credit was in 1970, but it was her role as Laurie in American Graffiti in 1973 that got people talking.

She starred opposite Ron Howard and would later be cast as Shirley Feeney on Happy Days, in which he had the starring role, which led to the spinoff Laverne & Shirley.

While she did have other movie roles, such as in The Conversation with Gene Hackman, Williams was a TV personality.

Before being cast in Laverne & Shirley, Williams walked through television history on shows like Room 222, Nanny and the Professor, Hawaii Five-O, Cannon, Police Story, Laugh-In, and Happy Days, which led to the starring vehicle that made her an icon.

Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall

Through the '80s and '90s, Williams continued her television journey with additional series roles and many TV movies, but she also starred in a series called Getting By in 1993 about two women, one White and one Black, who live together with their children, two girls, and two boys.

More recently, she had roles on Law & Order: SVU and The Odd Couple.

Williams's children, Zack and Emily Hudson released a statement today through family spokesperson Liza Cranis.

Cindy Williams in 2013

"The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed," the statement said.

"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."

Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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