Ron Howard Honors ‘Laverne & Shirley’ Star Cindy Williams After She Dies At 75
Cindy Williams died last week at the age of 75, and Ron Howard is paying tribute to the "Laverne & Shirley" star.
Hollywood is in mourning today after it was revealed that Cindy Williams, who starred in the beloved 1970s sitcom “Laverne & Shirley” alongside the late Penny Marshall, passed away last week at the age of 75. Now, her former American Graffiti co-star Ron Howard is speaking out to pay tribute to her.
Sad to hear the passing of Cindy Williams.
If there is an afterlife, may you and Penny be pouring a Shotz beer and Milk and Pepsi with Garry, David, Eddie and Phil. pic.twitter.com/MYERLOgZsG
— Danny Deraney (@DannyDeraney) January 31, 2023
Williams Passes Away
The New York Post reported that Williams’ two children revealed on Monday night that their mother had passed away on January 25th after a brief illness.
“The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed,” they 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,” their statement concluded.
Nancy Meyers on Cindy Williams pic.twitter.com/HtuEcuYu5z
— Ashley Spencer (@AshleyySpencer) January 31, 2023
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Related: Why ‘Laverne & Shirley’ Star Cindy Williams Quit The Show And Sued For $20 Million
Howard Honors Williams
Howard, who starred with Williams in the classic 1973 film American Graffiti, has since spoken out to honor her memory.
“I’m shocked because I hadn’t seen her for years and years,” Howard, 68, told People Magazine. “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.”
Even though it’s been fifty years since they made American Graffiti, working with Williams on it was an experience that Howard has never forgotten.
“In American Graffiti, she was 24 and I was 18, and I had my first kissing scenes with her, but they weren’t very romantic because she knew that she had this nervous kid on her hands and she had to take charge of the situation,” he recalled.
“And so she was like, ‘Here’s how we got to kiss for the camera. Here’s what we have to do,'” he continued. “She’s always had almost a big sister energy around me.”
Williams’ acting skills were showcased so well in American Graffiti that she was nominated for a BAFTA, which is the British version of the Oscars, for her work on the film.
George Lucas made a classic in 1973 with #AmericanGraffiti. Lovely characters, a now legendary cast, terrific soundtrack and an unforgettable #CindyWilliams as Laurie. So sad she passed away. This scene is cinema gold: pic.twitter.com/QhvEk1BmZ3
— George Fabelman (@jorgegavila) January 31, 2023
‘We Had Terrific Acting Chemistry’
Howard worked with Williams quite a bit in the years that followed American Graffiti, given the fact that “Laverne & Shirley” was a spin-off of his sitcom “Happy Days.”
“We wound up over a period of about five years working together a lot, being cast in other comedies, in dramas,” Howard explained. “‘The Laverne & Shirley’ spinoff from ‘Happy Days,’ it was so interesting. We had terrific acting chemistry, but she always treated me like the kid.”
#CindyWilliams Her unpretentious intelligence, talent, wit & humanity impacted every character she created & person she worked with. We were paired as actors on 6 different projects. #AmericanGraffiti a couple of dramas & then #HappyDays & #laverneandshirley Lucky me. RIP, Cindy https://t.co/pXc9bQhNIk
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) January 31, 2023
Howard concluded by revealing how he believes Williams would want to be remembered.
“She loved her work and her art and gave it everything that she had, and she also always found her way to put her stamp on what she was doing,” he said. “She really was dedicated creatively, and I took notice of that and tried to draw inspiration from it.”
“I think she’d like to be remembered for the variety of roles that she played,” Howard concluded. “Even though she was the most famous for Shirley…she also thought of herself as a character actress. I think she’d want people to think of her in that way.”
RIP Cindy Williams. Never saw much Laverne and Shirley, but I love her in my George Lucas film of choice, American Graffiti. The scene where she dances with Ron Howard to The Platters’ “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” is one of my all-time favorite (and most bittersweet) movie scenes. pic.twitter.com/Kb6V8EEGt4
— Schweig Writes (@schweigwrites) January 31, 2023
Related: Ron Howard Reveals What It Was Like To Work With John Wayne On His Last Movie
Tributes Pour In For Williams
Other tributes have been pouring in for Williams as well:
I fell in love with Cindy Williams after meeting on Room 222 in 1970. She quickly became a sister to me, a godmother to my daughter, @AmandaBegley_ and Shirley Feeney to America & the world. Love and light, my angel. The past half century has been filled with joy, thanks to you. https://t.co/TQaUffMyB5
— Ed Begley, Jr. (@edbegleyjr) January 31, 2023
R.I.P. American actress and producer Cindy Williams, she was 75 years old. Shirley Feeney in Laverne & Shirley 1976-1983, with Penny Marshall as Laverne DeFazio. pic.twitter.com/SZepX8ZQfH
— Masquerade (@Masquerade2376) January 31, 2023
RIP Cindy Williams………… dies at 75………………… 😢
“Laverne & Shirley” are back together… again… along with “Squiggy”………… 🥺
REST in PEACE… 🕊🤍🕊
FAITH… HOPE… AND LOVE… ♥️🤍💙 pic.twitter.com/CGr9zrUcKt
— Guadalupe Alvarado Sanchez Ponce (@LupeSPonce3) January 31, 2023
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall sing High Hopes on the first episode of Laverne & Shirley, 1976. pic.twitter.com/l4cQwBM7Cj
— New York Mammoths (@NYMammoths) January 31, 2023
August 22, 1947-January 25, 2023
Rest in His⛪ Eternal Peace🙏❤ pic.twitter.com/D86vW2MnIq
— CRIXUS (@CRIXUSwasHERE) January 31, 2023
Williams’ “Laverne & Shirley” co-star Penny Marshall was also 75 when she passed away back in 2018. While they will both be dearly missed, we can all draw comfort in knowing that they have been reunited in Heaven.
Rest in peace, Cindy Williams.
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