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Cindy Williams  – who portrayed the titular character Shirley Feeney in iconic 1970s sitcom Laverne & Shirley – has died aged 75.

The talented actress – who starred alongside Penny Marshall on all eight seasons of the legendary ABC series – passed away after a brief illness, according to AP.

Her children Zak and Emily Hudson released a statement released through family spokeswoman Liza Cranis.

Illness: The actress (above in 2015) - best known for her role as Shirley Feeney on the hit sitcom Laverne & Shirley - passed away at 75 years of age after a brief illness, according to AP

Illness: The actress (above in 2015) – best known for her role as Shirley Feeney on the hit sitcom Laverne & Shirley – passed away at 75 years of age after a brief illness, according to AP 

TV icon: Cindy Williams (right) played Shirley Feeney alongside Penny Marshall (left), as Laverne De Fazio in the hit sitcom Laverne & Shirley. They are seen here in a promotional image from the show circa 1980

TV icon: Cindy Williams (right) played Shirley Feeney alongside Penny Marshall (left), as Laverne De Fazio in the hit sitcom Laverne & Shirley. They are seen here in a promotional image from the show circa 1980 

‘The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed,’ the statement began. 

‘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,’ the statement concluded.

Williams was born in Los Angeles in 1947 and spent her childhood writing and performing at Birmingham High School, where she was classmates with Sally Field and Michael Ovitz.

She got her start acting in the early 1970s with guest-starring spots in TV shows like Barefoot in the Park and Room 222 before he was cast by legendary director George Cukor in 1972’s Travels With My Aunt.

Double date: She first met Penny Marshall (both seen in a 1979 image from Laverne & Shirley) on a double date before they were both hired by Coppola's American Zoetrope to write a TV spoof for the American Bicentennial

Double date: She first met Penny Marshall (both seen in a 1979 image from Laverne & Shirley) on a double date before they were both hired by Coppola’s American Zoetrope to write a TV spoof for the American Bicentennial

Laverne and Shirley: Marshall's brother Garry Marshall brought her on for an appearance on his hit TV series Happy Days before Williams and Marshall were cast as Shirley Feeney and Laverne DeFazio on the hit series Laverne & Shirley (seen above in 1977)

Laverne and Shirley: Marshall’s brother Garry Marshall brought her on for an appearance on his hit TV series Happy Days before Williams and Marshall were cast as Shirley Feeney and Laverne DeFazio on the hit series Laverne & Shirley (seen above in 1977)

She then landed the role of Laurie, the girlfriend of Ron Howard’s Steve, in George Lucas’ American Graffiti, which earned her a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Lucas had considered Williams for the role of Princess Leia Organa, though it ultimately went to Carrie Fisher. 

Williams then stared in Best Picture nominee The Conversation for director Francis Ford Coppola in 1974.

She first met Penny Marshall on a double date before they were both hired by Coppola’s American Zoetrope to write a TV spoof for the American Bicentennial.

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Cindy Williams’s Laverne & Shirley co-star Michael McKean leads celebrities paying tribute

Cindy Williams  – who portrayed the titular character Shirley Feeney in iconic 1970s sitcom Laverne & Shirley – has died aged 75.

The talented actress – who starred alongside Penny Marshall on all eight seasons of the legendary ABC series – passed away after a brief illness, according to AP.

After news of her passing spread, a number of celebrities paid tribute to Williams on social media, which you can see below.

Passed: Cindy Williams - who portrayed the titular character Shirley Feeney in iconic 1970s sitcom Laverne & Shirley - has died aged 75

Passed: Cindy Williams – who portrayed the titular character Shirley Feeney in iconic 1970s sitcom Laverne & Shirley – has died aged 75

One of the tributes came from her Laverne & Shirley co-star Michael McKean, whose career started on the hit series as Lenny Kosnowski, a character he created at Carnegie Mellon with David Lander, who played Andrew ‘Squiggy’ Squiggman.

‘Backstage, Season 1: I’m offstage waiting for a cue. The script’s been a tough one, so we’re giving it 110% and the audience is having a great time,’ McKean began. 

‘Cindy scoots by me to make her entrance and with a glorious grin, says: “Show’s cookin’!”. Amen. Thank you, Cindy,’ he concluded.

Tribute: One of the tributes came from her Laverne & Shirley co-star Michael McKean, whose career started on the hit series as Lenny Kosnowski, a character he created at Carnegie Mellon with David Lander, who played Andrew 'Squiggy' Squiggman

Tribute: One of the tributes came from her Laverne & Shirley co-star Michael McKean, whose career started on the hit series as Lenny Kosnowski, a character he created at Carnegie Mellon with David Lander, who played Andrew ‘Squiggy’ Squiggman

Tribute: 'Backstage, Season 1: I'm offstage waiting for a cue. The script's been a tough one, so we're giving it 110% and the audience is having a great time,' McKean began

Tribute: ‘Backstage, Season 1: I’m offstage waiting for a cue. The script’s been a tough one, so we’re giving it 110% and the audience is having a great time,’ McKean began

Actress Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) added, ‘I hate this so much. I just hate it. Oh how I loved Cindy Williams.’

‘When I was blessed to meet her on the set of @TheOddCoupleCBS she was as lovely as I always imagined she’d be,’ she added, with the hashtag #Dammit 

Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) added, ‘Loved #LavernandShirley! Knew that opening so well. RIP #cindywilliams Condolences to her loved ones.’

YNB: Actress Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) added, 'I hate this so much. I just hate it. Oh how I loved Cindy Williams'

YNB: Actress Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) added, ‘I hate this so much. I just hate it. Oh how I loved Cindy Williams’

Ming-Na: Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) added, 'Loved #LavernandShirley! Knew that opening so well. RIP #cindywilliams Condolences to her loved ones'

Ming-Na: Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) added, ‘Loved #LavernandShirley! Knew that opening so well. RIP #cindywilliams Condolences to her loved ones’

Publicist Danny Deraney shared a video of the iconic Laverne & Shirley theme song, adding, ‘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.’

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Rosario Dawson quote-retweeted Deraney’s tweet, adding, ‘Singing this song with so much gratitude for both you ladies. Absolute gems. United again… Rest in paradise Cindy Williams.’

Actress Joely Fisher shared Wes Reynolds’ tweet, adding, ‘Oh Shirl’ with the hashtags #RIPCindyWilliams and #RIPLegend 

Danny: Publicist Danny Deraney shared a video of the iconic Laverne & Shirley theme song, adding, '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'

Danny: Publicist Danny Deraney shared a video of the iconic Laverne & Shirley theme song, adding, ‘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’

Paradise: Rosario Dawson quote-retweeted Deraney's tweet, adding, 'Singing this song with so much gratitude for both you ladies. Absolute gems. United again... Rest in paradise Cindy Williams'

Paradise: Rosario Dawson quote-retweeted Deraney’s tweet, adding, ‘Singing this song with so much gratitude for both you ladies. Absolute gems. United again… Rest in paradise Cindy Williams’

Joely: Actress Joely Fisher shared Wes Reynolds' tweet, adding, 'Oh Shirl' with the hashtags #RIPCindyWilliams

Joely: Actress Joely Fisher shared Wes Reynolds’ tweet, adding, ‘Oh Shirl’ with the hashtags #RIPCindyWilliams

Brad's tribute: Actor Brad Everett Young pays tribute to Cindy Williams with a tweet

Brad’s tribute: Actor Brad Everett Young pays tribute to Cindy Williams with a tweet

SAG-AFTRA: Actors union SAG-AFTRA honored Cindy Williams after her passing on Monday

SAG-AFTRA: Actors union SAG-AFTRA honored Cindy Williams after her passing on Monday

Afterlife: Danny Deraney shares how he hopes Cindy Williams is greeted in the afterlife by her co-star Penny Marshall

Afterlife: Danny Deraney shares how he hopes Cindy Williams is greeted in the afterlife by her co-star Penny Marshall

National Comedy Center: The National Comedy Center offers its condolences to Cindy Williams' family and friends

National Comedy Center: The National Comedy Center offers its condolences to Cindy Williams’ family and friends

Author: Author John Jackson Miller reveals meeting Cindy Williams over a year ago before her passing on Monday

Author: Author John Jackson Miller reveals meeting Cindy Williams over a year ago before her passing on Monday

Chelar: Actress Chelar Vale honors Cindy Williams in a heartfelt tweet

Chelar: Actress Chelar Vale honors Cindy Williams in a heartfelt tweet

Marshall’s brother Garry Marshall brought Marshall and Williams on for an appearance on his hit TV series Happy Days, as Shirley Feeney and Laverne DeFazio, two dates for Fonzie (Henry Winkler). 

Their appearance was so popular they created the spin-off series Laverne & Shirley – created by Lowell Ganz, Garry Marshall and Mark Rothman – followed the title characters’ misadventures as single ladies throughout the 1950s and 1960s. 

As ratings dropped in the sixth season, the characters moved from Milwaukee to Burbank, California, trading their brewery jobs for work at a department store.

Origins: Marshall's brother Garry Marshall brought Marshall and Williams on for an appearance on his hit TV series Happy Days, as Shirley Feeney and Laverne DeFazio, two dates for Fonzie (Henry Winkler) in a 1975 episode seen above

Origins: Marshall’s brother Garry Marshall brought Marshall and Williams on for an appearance on his hit TV series Happy Days, as Shirley Feeney and Laverne DeFazio, two dates for Fonzie (Henry Winkler) in a 1975 episode seen above

In 1982, Williams became pregnant and wanted her working hours curtailed. When her demands weren´t met, she walked off the set, and filed a lawsuit against its production company. 

The series ran for eight seasons, though Williams left the show after just the second episode of the final season after she became pregnant.

Williams would go on to star in a number of TV movies throughout the 1980s before returning to television in the 1990s with Normal Life and Getting By.

She continued to work regularly throughout the years, even reuniting with Marshall (who passed away in 2018) in a 2013 Laverne & Shirley tribute episode of Sam & Cat and she published her memoir Shirley, I Jest! (co-written with Dave Smitherman) in 2015. 

Shirley and the Fonz: Cindy Williams with Henry Winkler in the 1975 episode of Happy Days that launched the spin-off Laverne & Shirley

Shirley and the Fonz: Cindy Williams with Henry Winkler in the 1975 episode of Happy Days that launched the spin-off Laverne & Shirley

Eight seasons: The series ran for eight seasons, though Williams (seen with Marshall at the Emmys in 1979) left the show after just the second episode of the final season after she became pregnant

Eight seasons: The series ran for eight seasons, though Williams (seen with Marshall at the Emmys in 1979) left the show after just the second episode of the final season after she became pregnant

Reunited: She continued to work regularly throughout the years, even reuniting with Marshall (both seen above at a 2022 Los Angeles Lakers game before Marshall passed in 2018) in a 2013 episode of Sam & Cat and she published her memoir Shirley, I Jest! (co-written with Dave Smitherman) in 2015

Reunited: She continued to work regularly throughout the years, even reuniting with Marshall (both seen above at a 2022 Los Angeles Lakers game before Marshall passed in 2018) in a 2013 episode of Sam & Cat and she published her memoir Shirley, I Jest! (co-written with Dave Smitherman) in 2015

In the past three decades Williams made guest appearances on dozens of TV series including 7th Heaven, 8 Simple Rules and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

Last year, Williams appeared in a one-woman stage show full of stories from her career, Me, Myself and Shirley, at a theatre in Palm Springs, California, near her home in Desert Hot Springs.

Williams was married to singer Bill Hudson of musical group the Hudson Brothers from 1982 until 2000, and they shared two children, Zak and Emily Hudson.

He was previously married to Goldie Hawn and is also the father of actor Kate Hudson.

Kids: Williams was married to singer Bill Hudson of musical group the Hudson Brothers from 1982 until 2000, and they shared two children, Zak and Emily Hudson (seen above in 2004)

Kids: Williams was married to singer Bill Hudson of musical group the Hudson Brothers from 1982 until 2000, and they shared two children, Zak and Emily Hudson (seen above in 2004)

Cindy and Bill: He was previously married to Goldie Hawn and is also the father of actor Kate Hudson

Cindy and Bill: He was previously married to Goldie Hawn and is also the father of actor Kate Hudson

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