Cindy Williams, the actress known for her performances on “Laverne & Shirley” and in the film “American Graffiti,” died Wednesday at 75 after “a brief illness,” “Extra” has confirmed.
A statement from her children reads, “The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed. It has been a joy and privilege to know and love her. She was unique, kind, generous, and had a brilliant sense and humor that everyone loved. “
” The statement continues, “We have always been, will remain, SO proud about her for many things.” “Her lifelong mission of rescue animals, her prolific artistry, faith, and most importantly, her ability to make everyone laugh!” We wish everyone to continue that joy, as she would. We are so grateful for your love and support of our Mom. You were loved by her. “
Cynthia Jones was born August 22, 1947 in Van Nuys (California). She spent part of her childhood in Dallas, Texas, before moving back to her hometown.
Initially, Williams worked in commercials for Foster Grant and TWA. She made her TV debut at the dawn of the ’70s on an episode of the series “My World and Welcome to It” (1970) and “Barefoot in the Park” (1970), and the same year appeared in the Roger Corman film “Gas-s-s-s” (1970).
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Her film career exploded quickly with Williams appearing in the Larry Hagman-directed movie “Beware!” The Blob” (1972), the legendary George Cukor’s “Travels with My Aunt” (1972), Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Conversation” (1974), and “The First Nudie Musical” (1976).
She famously auditioned for “Star Wars” (1977), but often joked she was “terrible” and was happy Carrie Fisher got the part.
Williams’ breakthrough was as Laurie in George Lucas’ nostalgic surprise smash “American Graffiti” (1973), for which she was nominated for a BAFTA as Best Actress in a Supporting Role in 1975. Her competition? Ingrid Bergman and Sylvia Sidney were her competitors.
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Williams returned for “More American Graffiti”, a 1979 film that featured Williams as a “fast” girl called Shirley Feeney. This was on an episode of “Happy Days” from 1975. That appearance led to a spin-off called “Laverne & Shirley” (1976-1982) — on which Shirley was retooled as a charming square — which went on to become an enduring comedy classic, thanks to the physical humor and the chemistry between Williams and Marshall.
Williams & Penny Marshall as seen during the shoot for the opening credits of “Laverne & Shirley”
Post-“Laverne & Shirley,” Williams focused on features and TV movies, among them 1988’s “Tricks of the Trade” with Markie Post and John Ritter, the feature “Big Man on Campus” (1989), and the 2016 Hallmark holiday film “A Dream of Christmas. “
Later episodic-TV gigs included on “8 Simple Rules” (2008), “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2004), “Girlfriends” (2004 & 2005), “Sam & Cat” (2013), and “The Odd Couple” (2016).
Williams at an autograph show in 2012
.She was a co-producer of “Father of the Bride” (1991) and its sequel (1995).
In addition to her TV and movie work, Williams had extensive stage credits. Williams was a part of the national tour of “Death Trap” along with Elliott Gould, “Nunsense,” “Grease” and “The Female Odd Couple” in Las Vegas. She also performed in “Father of the Bride” (1991) and its sequel (1995). “
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Williams had recently finished a national theater tour with her one-woman show “Me, Myself & Shirley” to glowing reviews. Her anecdote-rich memoir, “Shirley, I Jest!” is revealing and rich in detail. : A Storied Life” with Dave Smitherman was published in 2015.
Her final project is “Sami,” a short-form comedy for Amazon Prime Video that premieres in April.
Williams was married to Bill Hudson of the Hudson Brothers from 1982 until their 2000 divorce. They are the parents Zak and Emily, who survived her.
Backstage, Season 1: I’m offstage waiting for a cue. We’re giving it our best and the audience is having a blast. The script has been difficult. Cindy walks by me to make her entrance, and with a dazzling smile, says: “Show’s cooking ‘!”..” Amen. Thank you, Cindy.
, “Her unpretentious intelligence and talent, wit & humanity impacted each character she created & person with whom she worked. We were paired on 6 different projects as actors. tweeted was a few dramas, then #AmericanGraffiti and #HappyDays respectively. RIP, Cindy. “#laverneandshirleyHenry Winkler was Laverne’s date on the pilot episode on “Laverne & Shirley.” But Winkler had warm words to Cindy on Twitter,
: “What a fine, talented human being!” RIP. “writingCarole White, Big Rosie Greenbaum’s character on several episodes, posted on Facebook: “Sadly, I repeat the news about Cindy Williams’ passing. She was a great actor and a lovely girl. Condolences to her family and all the millions of people who loved her. Rest in Peace…and best wishes to Laverne if she happens to be around you. “
Anson William, who played Potsie in “Happy Days” and was a guest on “Laverne & Shirley,” posted on Facebook, “I’m devastated. I can’t stop crying. Unfairly, the most talented, selfless and kind friend has died. It is difficult to comprehend. Cindy, Rest in Peace. “
Don Malph aka Ralph Malph, “Happy Days”
: “I can’t believe Cindy Williams has left us. It is so sad. She was not only a gifted talent but also a wonderful person. One of the most kind, caring, generous, gracious, and kind people I have ever met. Cindy, RIP. I will be missing you so much. “tweeted
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