In a statement to ET, 71-year-old Williams says, “What an extraordinary loss. My good friend, Penny Marshall is gone -- one in a million."
"Utterly unique, a truly great talent," the statement continues. "And, oh what fun we had! Can’t describe how I’ll miss her.”
Laverne & Shirley, a Happy Days spinoff, ran for eight seasons from 1976 to 1983. The sitcom starred Marshall and Williams as roommates Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney respectively, who worked as bottle-cappers at a brewery in late 1950s Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, Marshall’s family told ET in a statement, "Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall. Penny was a tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together and being with her family. As an actress, her work on Laverne & Shirley broke ground featuring blue-collar women entertaining America in prime time. She was a comedic natural with a photographic memory and an instinct for slapstick."
"When Penny directed Tom Hanks in the movie Big she became a pioneer as the first woman in history to helm a film that grossed more than $100 million," the statement continues. "She did it again with A League of Their Own. She directed many stars including Geena Davis, Robert De Niro, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Madonna, Denzel Washington, Rosie O’Donnell and Whitney Houston. She even gave Mark Wahlberg his first acting job. Penny was a girl from the Bronx, who came out West, put a cursive 'L' on her sweater and transformed herself into a Hollywood success story. We hope her life continues to inspire others to spend time with family, work hard and make all of their dreams come true.”
For more on the star's legacy, watch the video below: