Laverne And Shirley Star Cindy Williams Is Dead At 75

Cindy Williams in an interview with Foundation Interviews
(Image credit: Foundation Interviews)

Cindy Williams, known primarily for her co-lead role in the beloved sitcom Laverne & Shirley, has died at the age of 75. The actress passed away in Los Angeles after a brief illness, though the specifics of her sickness are not known at this time. 

News of Cindy Williams' passing first arrived via AP News, which shared a joint statement from her children, Zak and Emily Hudson. In the brief quote found below, the duo shared their sadness about their mother's death, and the "privilege" it was to know her: 

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

As previously mentioned, Cindy Williams is most known for her role as Shirley Feeney in the Happy Days spinoff Laverne & Shirley. Feeney co-starred alongside actress Penny Marshall, who died in 2018. Back in 2021, Williams mourned the death of former co-star Eddie Mekka alongside beloved Better Call Saul actor and Williams' other former co-star, Michael McKean. 

Laverne & Shirley's basic plot centered on two single women living in Milwaukee and working at a bottling factory throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s. At the peak of its run in Season 3, it was one of the most popular shows on television. The series would go on to earn six Golden Globe nominations and one Emmy nomination.

The series ran for eight seasons, though Williams left before its end when she became pregnant with her first child (via CheatSheet). Williams filed a $20 million lawsuit against the series, but the dispute was later settled out of court. 

Prior to Laverne & Shirley, Cindy Williams caught the attention of audiences with her role in the George Lucas film American Graffiti. Williams played Laurie Henderson in the film and co-starred with someone she'd later collaborate again with on Happy Days: future director extraordinaire Ron Howard.

Cindy Williams also had a key role in the 1974 Gene Hackman-led movie The Conversation. The movie ultimately came just a couple of years before the premiere of Laverne & Shirley, and just a year before her debut on Happy Days as a friend of Fonzie. Henry Winkler's Fonzie was so popular the show was almost named after him, so it's little surprise Williams' resulting spinoff took off. 

In the years that followed after her time on Laverne & Shirley, Cindy Williams enjoyed a steady stream of work across multiple television shows. Some of her more notable roles over the years included the ABC series Getting By, which was produced by former Laverne & Shirley producers Thomas L. Miller and Robert L. Boyett. Williams also had guest roles in notable shows like 7th Heaven, 8 Simple Rules, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Her final listed film credit on IMDb is a movie titled Still Waiting In The Wings.

CinemaBlend would like to offer its condolences to the family and friends of Cindy Williams and wish them well during this difficult time. Hopefully, her work will live on forever in streaming, and you can find it now on Pluto so that future generations will get to experience her brilliance as an actress. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.