Carole Penny Marshall
October 15, 1943 (age 72)
Carole Penny Marshall (born October 15, 1943) is an American actress, television producer, film producer, and television director. After playing several small roles for television, she was cast as Laverne DeFazio on the sitcom Laverne & Shirley, which ran from 1976 until 1983, during which Marshall was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her performance three times.
Carole Penny Marshall was born in St. Vincent's Hospital, New York City, in 1943, to Marjorie Irene (née Ward), a tap dance teacher who ran the Marjorie Marshall Dance School, and Anthony "Tony" Masciarelli, later Marshall, a director of industrial films and later a producer. She is the sister of actor/director/TV producer Garry Marshall and Ronny Hallin a television producer. Her birth name Carole was selected because her mother's favorite actress was Carole Lombard.
In 1974, James L. Brooks and Allan Burns, executive producers of the hit situation comedy, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, cast Marshall as Janice Dreyfuss, sister-in-law to Paul Dreyfuss (played by actor Paul Sand) in the series, Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers. It aired on CBS-TV Saturday nights beginning September 14, 1974, as part of the powerhouse lineup of All In The Family, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and The Carol Burnett Show. Despite good reviews and decent ratings, it was canceled mid-season.
Brooks and Burns, along with studio head Grant Tinker were so impressed with Marshall's comedic talent that the following season, they hired Marshall and actress Mary Kay Place to play Mary Richards' new neighbors (Paula and Sally Jo, respectively) on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, after Mary moved into her new apartment in a high-rise. Then Garry Marshall, creator/part-time writer for Happy Days, cast his sister, Penny, and Cindy Williams to guest on an episode of that show. The installment, titled "A Date with Fonzie", aired on November 11, 1975 and introduced the characters LaVerne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney (played by Marshall and Williams, respectively). In that episode, Laverne and Shirley were a pair of wise-cracking brewery workers, who were dates for Fonzie (played by Winkler) and Richie (played by Howard).
The pair were such a hit with the studio audience that Garry Marshall decided to co-create and star them in a hit spin-off, Laverne and Shirley. The characters of Laverne and Shirley also appeared in five more episodes of Happy Days.
- She is an avid collector of sports memorabilia.
- She became the first woman to direct a $100 million-grossing film with Big; other directorial efforts include the Oscar-nominated Awakenings andA League of Their Own