Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Remembering Sitcom Legend Cindy Williams of Laverne & Shirley; HBO's The Last of Us Renewed for Season 2

Cindy Williams

Actress Cindy Williams, who starred as Shirley Feeney on Laverne & Shirley, has died. She died following a brief illness in Los Angeles on January 25. Ms. Williams was 75.

Williams' early sitcom guest appearances included My World and Welcome to It, Barefoot in the Park, Nanny and the Professor, Getting Together and Love, American Style (2 episodes). She starred as the teenage wife with Michael Lembeck in the short-lived 1971 NBC sketch comedy series The Funny Side. Some of her other early television guest appearances included Room 222 (3 episodes), Hawaii Five-O, Cannon, Insight, Police Story and Petrocelli.

She first appeared as Shirley Feeney in the November 11, 1975, episode of Happy Days titled "A Date with Fonzie." Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall) and Shirley Feeney were a pair of wise-cracking brewery workers, who were "sure-thing" 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

Williams starred as Shirley Feeney on the 1976-1983 ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley. Laverne and Shirley were two friends and roommates who worked as bottle-cappers in the fictitious Shotz Brewery in late 1950s Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Shirley is the perky, positive one. She also tends to be meek, while Laverne is more outspoken. She has a special relationship with her stuffed cat Boo Boo Kitty, a name Williams gave the toy after forgetting a line in rehearsal, and was the name of her mother's cat. Williams appeared in 158 episodes of the series. She left the series after the second episode of the show's eighth and what would become its final season, after she became pregnant with her first child. The series also starred Michael McKean, David L. Lander, Eddie Mekka, Phil Foster, Betty Garrett (1976-1981), Carole Ita White (1976-1977), Ed Marinaro (1980-1981) and Leslie Easterbrook (1980-1983).

She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy in 1978. In 1981, she directed the episode "Sing, Sing, Sing." She guest starred as Shirley in four other episodes of Happy Days. She voiced the character in 13 episodes the 1981-1982 ABC animated series Laverne & Shirley in the Army and one episode of the Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour in 1982. She appeared in the specials "The Laverne & Shirley Reunion" in 1995 and "Laverne & Shirley: Together Again" in 2005.

Williams starred as Lisa Burke on the short-lived 1989 Disney Channel sitcom Just Like Family. Her then real-life husband Bill Hudson co-starred as her husband, Tom Burke. The series was based on the 1986 Disney TV movie Help Wanted: Kids. It was about a couple who have to hire a couple of children to impress the man’s boss. It also starred Gabriel Damon and Grace Johnston.

Normal Life

She starred as Anne Harlow on the short-lived 1990 CBS sitcom Normal Life. The series was based on the real unconventional home life of the Zappa children. Anne Harlow works for the school board and is married to Max Harlow (Max Gail), a succsseful freelance writer. It also starred Dweezil Zappa, Moon Unit Zappa, Josh Williams, Bess Meyer and Jim Staahl.

Getting By

Williams reunited with former Laverne & Shirley producers Thomas L. Miller and Robert L. Boyett to star in their 1993-1994 ABC family sitcom Getting By. The show was about two best friends and single mothers, one white and one black, who decide to split the mortgage on a new home in suburban Oak Park, Illinois and live there with their respective families. It also starred Telma Hopkins, Nicki Vannice, Ashleigh Blair Sterling, Merlin Santana and Deon Richmond.

She played herself in six episodes of the 2001-2001 Comedy Central sitcom Strip Mall. She had a recurring role as Ronnie in four episodes of For Your Love from 2000 to 2002. She guest starred as Mary Ellen Doyle in two episodes of 8 Simple Rules in 2002. She played Lisa James in two episodes of Girlfriends in 2004 and 2005. Some of her other sitcom guest appearances included Hope & Gloria, Son of the Beach, The Brothers Garcia, Less Than Perfect, Are We There Yet? and The Odd Couple (2016). She reunited with Penny Marshall in a 2013 episode of Sam & Cat.

Some of her other televison guest appearances included Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Touched by an Angel, 7th Heaven, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Drive (3 episodes).

Cindy Williams and Ron Howard in American Graffiti

Williams starred as Laurie Henderson, Steve Bolander's (Ron Howard) high school sweetheart in George Lucas' American Graffiti (1973) for which she earned a BAFTA nomination as Best Supporting Actress. She starred as Ann in Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation (1974). Some of her other film credits included Travels with My Aunt (1972), The Killing Kind (1973), The First Nudie Musical (1976), More American Graffiti (1979), The Creature Wasn't Nice (1983), UFOria (1985), Big Man on Campus (1989), Rude Awakening (1989), Bingo (1991) and Meet Wally Sparks (1997).

Williams performed onstage in the national tours of Grease, Deathtrap, and Moon Over Buffalo, and a regional production of Nunsense. She reunited with her Laverne & Shirley co-star Eddie Mekka in a November 2008 regional production of the Renée Taylor-Joseph Bologna comedy play It Had to Be You. She made her Broadway debut as daffy Mrs. Tottendale in The Drowsy Chaperone at the Marquis Theatre on December 11, 2007, succeeding Jo Anne Worley in the role originated by Georgia Engel.

She was interviewed for The Interviews: An Oral History of Television on August 7, 2013. In 2015, her memoir Shirley, I Jest! (co-written with Dave Smitherman) was published.

Survivors include her two children, Emily and Zak Hudson. She was married to Bill Hudson of the musical trio The Hudson Brothers in 1982. The marriage ended in divorce in 2000.

Cindy Williams

Ms. Williams was a sitcom legend. She was perfect in the role of Shirley Feeney. The cast had great chemistry. We thank her for the many laughs and entertainment that she brought us in her career. She will be deeply missed.

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


The Last of Us

HBO drama The Last of Us has been renewed for a second season. The series from co-creators Craig Mazin (Emmy(R) Award-winning creator of HBO's Chernobyl) and Neil Druckmann marks HBO's second largest debut, behind only House of the Dragon. Episode 1 has now surpassed 22 million viewers domestically, up nearly 5x from its premiere night audience. Season one stars Pedro Pascal as Joel, Bella Ramsey as Ellie, Gabriel Luna as Tommy, Anna Torv as Tess, Nico Parker as Sarah, Murray Bartlett as Frank, Nick Offerman as Bill, Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen, Storm Reid as Riley, Merle Dandridge as Marlene, Jeffrey Pierce as Perry, Lamar Johnson as Henry, Keivonn Woodard as Sam, Graham Greene as Marlon, and Elaine Miles as Florence. Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker also star.

New episodes of the series debut Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and are available to stream on HBO Max, leading up to the finale on March 12. The first episode of The Last of Us is available for free on HBOMax.com. Fans can also tune in to The Last of Us Podcast, the series' official companion podcast where host Troy Baker, who plays Joel in the video game, sits down with series creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann for a scene-by-scene deep dive of each episode.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

Wednesday, June 19

The Conners - "When Sisters Collide and the Return of the Grifters" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Darlene crashes Mark’s college trivia night to prove how smart she is. Elsewhere, Neville finds out the money he loaned Dan was used for something other than its intended purpose.

The Conners - "Hanging in Dorms With Boys and the Secret Life of Men" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Darlene urges Ben to make some male friends as he feels anxious about turning 50. Elsewhere, Mark asks Harris to buy him and his friends beer for their dorm room.

Abbott Elementary - "Career Day Part 1" / "Career Day Part 2" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
It’s a new year at Abbott Elementary, and Janine is as eager as ever. She plans a district-wide initiative – Career Day – and is anxious for it to be a success. Meanwhile, Ava has a new approach to her job, and Melissa is asked a surprising question.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 17)

Wednesday, June 19

  • Dakota Johnson (Ben and Kate) - Watch Dakota on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Mr. Corman/3rd Rock from the Sun) - Joseph appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Ebon Moss-Bachrach (The Bear/Girls) - Ebon is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Abby Elliott (The Bear/Indebted/Odd Mom Out) - Abby appears on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen at 10:15pm on Bravo.
  • Patti LaBelle (Out All Night) - Patti chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Jason Biggs (Outmatched/Mad Love/Drexell's Class) - Jason is a guest on CBS Mornings some time between 7-9am.
  • Austin Butler (Ruby & the Rockits/Zoey 101/Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide) - Austin talks about The Bikeriders on NBC's Today some time between 7-9am.
  • Joe Manganiello (How I Met Your Mother) - Joe chats about hosting the new Deal or No Deal Island on a repeat of Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Sterling K. Brown (Solar Opposites/Starved) - Sterling is joining Drew and telling her all about receiving his first Oscar nomination, his most surreal moment on the red carpet and raising his two sons on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore ShoW, so check your local listings.
  • Jenny Slate (The Great North/Big Mouth/Married/Bob's Burgers) - Jenny is joining Drew and telling her all about being a mom to a three-year-old and her new comedy special Seasoned Professional on a repeat of The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Teri Hatcher (The Odd Couple/Sunday Dinner/Karen's Song/The Love Boat) - Teri talks about Lifetime's The Killer Inside: The Ruth Finley Story on a repeat of Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Keegan-Michael Key (Schmigadoon!/Friends from College/Playing House/Gary Unmarried) - Keegan-Michael discusses hosting NFL Honors and book, The History of Sketch Comedy: A Journey through the Art and Craft of Humor, on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series Check It Out! - The Complete Series The Jeffersons - The Complete Series (2024 Release) Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Series (2024 Release)

01/09 - South Park - Seasons 11-15 (Blu-ray)
01/16 - Ghosts (UK) - Season Five
02/13 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/27 - The Really Loud House - Season One
03/12 - Ghosts (UK) - The Complete Series
03/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 3 (Blu-ray)
03/12 - Rick and Morty - Season 7 (Blu-ray Steelbook) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
04/03 - Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series (VEI)
04/08 - Check It Out! - The Complete Series (VEI)
05/21 - Frasier (2023) - Season One
06/11 - The Jeffersons - The Complete Series (2024 Release)
06/11 - Welcome Back, Kotter - The Complete Series (2024 Release)

More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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