How Penny Marshall Changed a Young Tom Hanks' Life and Career

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Famed director and comedian Penny Marshall may be gone, but her legacy lives on forever.

Marshall, who died on Monday night due to complications from diabetes, broke barriers for female directors throughout her successful career, as well as discovered a slew of Hollywood greats. Responsible for Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia's epic dancing-on-a-giant-electronic-keyboard scene, the New York native made Hanks a household name after directing the 1988 comedy Big -- a role which earned him his first Oscar nomination and first Golden Globe trophy.

The memorable movie about a boy who magically becomes an adult, cemented Hanks as an actor to watch, leading him to land several major roles thereafter. Big was not only a great win for the then-32-year-old, the fantasy film also made Marshall the first woman in Hollywood to direct a movie that grossed over $100 million.

Following the news of her death on Tuesday, Hanks took to Twitter to pay tribute to the woman who forever changed his life and career.

"Goodbye, Penny.  Man, did we laugh a lot!  Wish we still could. Love you. Hanx," the 62-year-old two-time Oscar winner tweeted about his former colleague.

Tom Hanks in Big
Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

Big wasn't the only movie she and Hanks shattered records with. Marshall did it again with the 1992 female-led baseball comedy A League of Their Own, which also starred Hanks as the gruff, yet lovable, Jimmy Dugan.

The beloved film, which also features Geena Davis, Rosie O'Donnell and Madonna, is based on the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and tells the story of two sisters who joined the first female pro league as they struggle to help it succeed.

The film was a critical and commercial success, with reviewers praising Hanks and his female co-stars, as well as becoming Marshall's second film to gross over $100 million. Let's not forget, A League of Their Own also gave fans one of Hanks' most memorable lines: "There's no crying in baseball!"

League of Their Own
Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

Following his lauded role in A League of Their Own, Hanks began his era of iconic movie roles in films like Sleepless in SeattlePhiladelphia, Forrest GumpApollo 13 and Saving Private Ryan, among many others. The rest, as they say, is history. 

As for Marshall, she was one of a kind, always glowing in front and behind the camera. Many other celebrities who had worked with her, including Davis, O'Donnell and her ex-husband, Rob Reiner, expressed their sadness on social media.

For more on her life and legacy, watch below.


Inside Penny and Garry Marshall's Unbreakable Sibling Bond

Rob Reiner Pays Tribute to Ex-Wife Penny Marshall

Penny Marshall Dead at 75

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