‘Laverne & Shirley’ Co-Stars Remember Cindy Williams in Touching Tributes

cindy williams, penny marshall promotional photo for 'laverne and shirley'
Celebrities Remember Cindy WilliamsABC - Getty Images
  • Hollywood is taking in the loss of Laverne & Shirley star Cindy Williams after her children announced her death on Monday.

  • The actress died last Wednesday after suffering “a brief illness,” her children said.

  • Co-stars Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, and Michael McKean were among those who paid tribute.

Laverne & Shirley and Happy Days star Cindy Williams has died at 75. On Monday, her children announced to the public that their mother passed away last week after a brief illness, per People (her specific cause of death has yet to be announced). Since the news broke, Williams’ co-stars and other members of Hollywood have taken to social media to remember her full life and impressive career.

Ron Howard was one of Williams’ longest co-stars. They first worked together on the 1973 film American Graffiti, and later in Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley, among a few other things. “Her unpretentious intelligence, talent, wit & humanity impacted every character she created & person she worked with. We were paired as actors on 6 different projects,” Howard tweeted. “Lucky me. RIP, Cindy.”

Howard elaborated on the heartbreaking loss in an interview with People. “I’m shocked because I hadn’t seen her for years and years. We connected at an event in Palm Springs, [California] last year, and I was just so taken by how her intelligence, energy, and sense of humor ... was still in high gear. And so it’s really a shock to imagine that spark is gone,” he said.

laverne shirley
Cindy Williams and Ron Howard on Laverne & Shirley. ABC Photo Archives - Getty Images

Another Happy Days co-star, Henry Winkler, who played Fonzie, remembered Williams in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “Cindy has been my friend and professional colleague since I met her on the set of Happy Days in 1975. Not once have I ever been in her presence when she wasn’t gracious, thoughtful and kind,” he said. “Cindy’s talent was limitless. There was not a genre she could not conquer. I am so glad I knew her.”

Michael McKean, who played Lenny Kosnowski in Laverne & Shirley, tweeted a memory from his time on set with Williams: “Backstage, Season 1: I’m offstage waiting for a cue. The script’s been a tough one, so we’re giving it 110% and the audience is having a great time. Cindy scoots by me to make her entrance and with a glorious grin, says: “Show’s cookin’!” Amen. Thank you, Cindy.

Other tributes poured in from stars who admired Williams and her work. Cindy was AMAZING! Such a great, natural comedian. So wide open. Such a sad loss,” Jamie Lee Curtis wrote on Instagram.

Rosario Dawson reminisced with the beloved Laverne & Shirley theme song. “Singing this song with so much gratitude for both of you ladies. Absolute gems. United again… Rest in Paradise Cindy Williams,” she tweeted.

Williams was best known for her role as the cunning Shirley Feeney in the ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley, in which she co-starred alongside the late Penny Marshall, who played Laverne DeFazio. The show was a spinoff born out of a 1975 Happy Days episode that took off after fans fell in love with their characters.

Williams’ children, Zak and Emily Hudson, confirmed her death in a statement through their 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, per People. “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.”

“We have always been, and will remain, SO proud of her for many things… her lifelong mission to rescue animals, her prolific artistry, her faith, and most of all, her ability to make the world laugh!” they continued. “May that laughter continue in everyone, because she would want that. Thank you for loving our Mom, she loved you too.”

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