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

Thursday, September 21

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 18)

Thursday, September 21

  • Justin Long (F Is for Family/Ed) - Catch Justin on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • America Ferrera (Superstore) - America is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Fred Armisen (Los Espookys/Forever/Final Space) - Fred appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Gabriel Iglesias (Mr. Iglesias/Cristela), Robert Kelly (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll), John Witherspoon (The First Family/The Tracy Morgan Show/The Wayans Bros.) - Gabriel, Robert and John (RIP) are guests on repeats of Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen on CBS between 12:37-1:37am.
  • Heather Dubrow (Stark Raving Mad/Jenny/Life with Roger) - Heather and Terry Dubrow are guests on E! News at 11pm on E!.

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

Mayberry R.F.D. - The Complete Series Night Court (1984-1992) - The Complete Series Family Matters - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Series ALF - The Complete Series (Deluxe Edition)

06/13 - Mayberry R.F.D. - The Complete Series
06/13 - Night Court (1984-1992) - The Complete Series
07/18 - South Park - Seasons 21-25 (Blu-ray) (DVD)
07/25 - The Neighborhood - Season Five
07/25 - Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin - Season One
07/25 - Superstore - The Complete Series
08/22 - Back to Life - Season 1 / Season 2
08/29 - Smiling Friends - Season 1 (Blu-ray) (DVD)
09/05 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Sixth Season
09/12 - Abbott Elementary - The Complete Second Season
09/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-6 (Blu-ray) (DVD)
09/26 - Family Matters - The Complete Series
09/26 - Step by Step - The Complete Series
10/10 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Thirteen / The Complete Season Fourteen
10/17 - ALF - The Complete Series (Deluxe Edition) (Shout! Factory Special Offers)
10/17 - Night Court (2023) - The Complete First Season
More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

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09/13 - TBS Acquires Modern Family; The Frasier Awards on COZI TV
09/12 - Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen Gets CBS Late Night Run; Unsolved Mysteries: Behind the Legacy Special
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09/10 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 11, 2023)
09/09 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Warner Bros. Television Suspends Deals with Top Creators; Fran Drescher Re-Elected President of SAG-AFTRA
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09/04 - TV Marathons on Labor Day 2023 Include Three's Company
09/03 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 4, 2023)
09/02 - SitcomsOnline Digest: No Third Season for How I Met Your Father; Spectrum Dispute with Disney Could Spell End of Cable
09/01 - September Is Anniversary Month on Hulu; Freeform's 31 Nights of Halloween Returns for Its 25th Anniversary
08/31 - Max's Original Comedy Series Starstruck Season 3 and Our Flag Means Death Season 2 Premiere Dates; AXS TV Announces Fall Programming Lineup
08/30 - The Partridge Family Coming to AXS TV Starting Oct. 2; CBS to Air A Tribute to Bob Barker Special Aug. 31, Marathon of Match Game Episodes to Air Sept. 2 on Game Show Network
08/29 - Once Upon a Time Coming to Hulu; Young Love Launches on Max in September
08/28 - Remembering TV Legend Bob Barker; Wolf Like Me Returns in October on Peacock
08/27 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 28, 2023)
08/26 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Frasier Reboot Date Set, With CBS Also Airing First Two Episodes; Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. Cancelled
08/25 - Rick and Morty Returns October 15; Switch New Season Begins September 18 on Game Show Network
08/24 - Hulu Fall 2023 Slate; Apple TV+ Series Still Up Debuts Trailer
08/23 - Frasier Returns October 12 on Paramount+; And Just Like That... Renewed for Season 3
08/22 - ABC Fall 2023 Premiere Dates and Revised Schedule; Upload Season 3 Returns October 20
08/21 - MeTV September 2023 Schedule; Cartoon Network's Tiny Toons Premieres Sept. 9
08/20 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 21, 2023)