Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Remembering Penny Marshall, MeTV to Air Tribute on Sunday (Dec. 23); Conan's New Half-Hour Format Starts Jan. 22 on TBS

Penny Marshall

Actress, director and producer Penny Marshall, who starred as Laverne DeFazio in Laverne & Shirley, has died. She died in Los Angeles from complications of diabetes on December 17. Ms. Marshall was 75.

Marshall's early sitcom guest appearances included That Girl, Love, American Style, Barefoot in the Park, Getting Together, The Super and The Bob Newhart Show. Her early drama guest appearances included My Friend Tony, Then Came Bronson, The Magical World of Disney and Banacek.

Penny Marshall in The Odd Couple

She appeared in the recurring role of Myrna Turner, Oscar Madison's secretary, in 27 episodes of The Odd Couple on ABC from 1972 to 1974. It was developed and executive produced by her brother, Garry Marshall. The cast included Tony Randall, Jack Klugman, Al Molinaro, Garry Walberg and Larry Gelman. She reprised the role in the 1993 CBS TV movie The Odd Couple: Together Again.

Marshall starred as Janice Dreyfuss in the short lived 1974-1975 CBS sitcom Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers. Janice was Charlie's affection-starved wife who constantly mocked Robert for his romantic failures. The series also starred Paul Sand, Michael Pataki, Dick Wesson, Steve Landesberg, Craig Richard Nelson and Jack Gilford.

She first appeared as Laverne DeFazio in the November 11, 1975, episode of Happy Days titled A Date with Fonzie. Laverne and Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams) were a pair of wise-cracking brewery workers, who were dates for Fonzie (Henry Winkler) and Richie (Ron Howard). After the success of their appearance, Garry Marshall decided to create a spin-off series for them.

Laverne & Shirley

Marshall starred as Laverne DeFazio for 8 seasons and 178 episodes on ABC from 1976 to 1983. Laverne and Shirley were two friends and roommates who worked as bottle-cappers in the fictitious Shotz Brewery in late 1950s Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Laverne was a tough-talking tomboy who grew up in Brooklyn. Her favorite drink was milk and pepsi. She was known for the script letter "L" monogrammed on her shirts and sweaters. The series also starred Eddie Mekka, Phil Foster, David L. Lander, Michael McKean, Betty Garrett (1976-1981), Carole Ita White (1976-1977), Ed Marinaro (1980-1981) and Leslie Easterbrook (1980-1983).

She received three nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy for her role. Marshall appeared as Laverne in five other episodes of Happy Days, one episode of Blansky's Beauties and the pilot episode of Mork & Mindy. She voiced the character in the animated series Laverne & Shirley in the Army and the Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour.

Marshall directed four episodes of Laverne & Shirley. Some of her other sitcom directing credits included Working Stiffs, A League of Their Own, According to Jim and United States of Tara.

Some of her other sitcom guest appearances included The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Chico and the Man, Good Heavens, Taxi, I'm with Her, Entourage, Campus Ladies, The Game, Sam & Cat (reunited with Cindy Williams), Mulaney and The Odd Couple (2016). She had voice credits for The Simpsons, Frasier and The Life & Times of Tim.

She appeared in many TV movies including The Feminist and the Fuzz, Evil Roy Slade, The Crooked Hearts, The Couple Takes a Wife, Let's Switch!, Wives, More Than Friends (with Rob Reiner), Love Thy Neighbor (with John Ritter), Challenge of a Lifetime, Jackie's Back! and Women Without Men. Some of her film credits included The Savage Seven, How Sweet It Is!, The Grasshopper, Movers & Shakers, Hocus Pocus, The Hard Way and Alice Upside Down.

Marshall also had much success as film director. She made her directorial debut in 1986 with Jumpin' Jack Flash. In 1988, Big became the first film directed by a woman to gross more than $100 million at the U.S. box office. Her other film directing credits included Awakenings (1990, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture), A League of Their Own (1995), Renaissance Man (1994), The Preacher's Wife (1996) and Riding in Cars with Boys (2001). She worked as executive producer on Awakenings, A League of Their Own, Calendar Girl, Renaissance Man, Cinderella and Bewitched.

She was interviewed for The Interviews: An Oral History of Television on August 7, 2013.

Ms. Marshall was in a league of her own as an actress and director. She was very funny and memorable with her physical comedy and delivery of lines in her iconic role as Laverne. We thank her for the many laughs and hours of entertainment she brought us during her long career. It's sad that we've lost the brother and sister duo of Garry and Penny in the last two years. She will be deeply missed.

Share your memories on our Laverne & Shirley message board. View photos in our galleries.

MeTV Remembering Penny Marshall

MeTV Network pays tribute to the career and comedy of beloved actress and director Penny Marshall with a special presentation of Laverne & Shirley episodes airing on MeTV this Sunday, December 23 beginning at 2:00pm ET/PT through 6:00pm ET/PT. In a March 2015 interview with MeTV, Marshall shared her favorite Laverne & Shirley episodes. As a tribute to her enduring character Laverene DeFazio, MeTV has scheduled six of these memorable episodes, along with two special holiday-themed episodes, to create a special four-hour afternoon celebration of memorable and hilarious comedy for the whole family. Episodes airing from 2-6pm are: 2:00pm-2:30pm: "Fakeout at the Stakeout," "Bridal Shower," "Guinea Pigs," "Steppin' Out," "Airport '59," "Supermarket Sweep," "Christmas Eve at the Booby Hatch," and "Oh, Come All Ye Bums."


Conan O'Brien

Conan O'Brien debuts new 30-minute format show starting January 22 for Conan, ushering in a new era of multi-platform comedy with Team Coco. The longest-tenured host in late-night will return for his ninth season on TBS and 26th year on television, debuting a new thirty-minute format four nights a week in its regular timeslot starting on January 22, 2019 at 11pm. The revamped late-night show and expanded Team Coco fan experience will define a new era in multi-platform comedy. The show's new format will continue to feature celebrity guests and Conan's signature brand of comedy, which has made him one of the world's most popular hosts across both digital and linear platforms. Conan continues to evolve the genre by challenging conventions, taking creative risks and discovering and fostering new comedic talent.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, June 13

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 7)

Friday, June 11

  • Kathryn Hahn (Central Park/Happyish/Transparent/Free Agents) - Catch Kathryn on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Jean Smart (Hacks/Samantha Who?/Designing Women) - Jean appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Michelle Buteau (Bless the Harts/Enlisted) - Michelle chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) - Zooey talks about The Celebrity Dating Game on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Wilmer Valderrama (That '70s Show) - Wilmer appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Ellen Burstyn (The Ellen Burstyn Show) - Ellen will be on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am. She also talks about Queen Bees in the 10am hour.
  • Jasmine Cephas-Jones (Blindspotting) - Jasmine talks about Blindspotting on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.
  • Rob Riggle (Rob Riggle's Ski Master Academy/Golan the Insatiable/Gary Unmarried) and David Koechner (Superior Donuts/F Is for Family/The Golbergs/Hank/The Office) - Rob and David talk about The Big Slick Benefit on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Jane Curtin (United We Fall/Crumbs/3rd Rock from the Sun/Kate & Allie) and Loretta Devine (Family Reunion/The Carmichael Show) - Jane and Loretta talk about Queen Bees on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (February-June)

Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series Happy Together - The Complete Series 'Til Death - The Complete Series Fuller House - The Complete Series Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series

02/02 - Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In - The Complete Series (2021 Retail Release)
02/16 - Fam - The Complete Series
02/23 - Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series
03/02 - Blue Mountain State - The Complete Series
03/02 - Happy Together - The Complete Series
03/02 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-4 (DVD) (Blu-ray)
04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series
05/11 - Dead to Me - Season Two
06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
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