Oct. 15th, 1943
The Bronx, New York, USA
Penny Marshall's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Penny Marshall was born Carole Penny Marshall in the Bronx, New York, on October 15, 1943. The Libra is 5' 6 1/2" with brown hair and green eyes. Born to parents Marjorie Ward and Anthony "Tony" Marshall (he changed his last name from Marschiarelli after his family moved to the states), she is the younger sister of Garry Marshall and Ronny Hallin.
Penny was known in her family as "the bad one"... because not only did she walk on the ledge of her family's apartment building, but she snuck into the movies as a child and even dated a guy named "Lefty." She attended a private girls' high school in New York and then went to the University of New Mexico for 2 1/2 years. There, Penny got pregnant with daughter, Tracy Reiner, and soon after married the father, Michael Henry, in 1961. The couple divorced two years later in 1963. She worked as a secretary for awhile. Her first film debut came from her brother Garry Marshall, who put her in the movie How Sweet It Is! (1968) with the talented Debbie Reynolds (I) and James Garner. She also did a dandruff commercial with Farrah Fawcett - the casting people, of course, giving Farrah the part of the "beautiful girl" and Penny the part of the "plain girl." This only added to Penny's insecurity with her looks.
She then married Rob Reiner on April 10, 1971, shortly after getting her big TV break as Oscar Madison's secretary, Myrna Turner, on "The Odd Couple" (1970). She also played Mary Richards' neighbor, Paula Kovacks, on "Mary Tyler Moore" (1970) for a couple of episodes. However, her "Laverne & Shirley" (1976) fame came when her brother needed two women to play "fast girls" who were friends of Arthur Fonzarelli and would date Fonzie and Richie Cunningham on "Happy Days" (1974). Penny had been working on miscellaneous writing projects ("My Country Tis Of Thee", a bicentennial spoof for Francis Ford Coppola and "Paper Hands" about the Salem Witch Trials) with writing partner Cindy Williams (I). Cindy happened to be a friend and ex-girlfriend of Henry Winkler's, so Garry asked the two to play the parts of these girls. The audience saw their wonderful chemistry, and loved them so much, a spin-off was created for them.
Penny was well-known as Laverne DeFazio. She and Rob had a terrible divorce in 1980. The show ended three years later, half a year after Cindy Williams (I) left the show due to pregnancy (her first baby, Emily, from now ex-husband Bill Hudson (I))... they wanted Williams to work the week she was supposed to deliver.
Soon after, Penny began directing such films as Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986), Big (1988) and A League of Their Own (1992). Her hobbies include needlepoint, jigsaw puzzles and antique shopping. She is best friends with actress Carrie Fisher and is godmother to Carrie's daughter, Billie.
- Penny is an avid collector of sports memorabilia and has quite an extensive collection of baseballs, footballs and basketballs autographed by top athletes.
- (October 2002) Made a rare public appearance at the Hollywood Collectors Show in North Hollywood, California with fellow _"Laverne & Shirley" (1976)_ (qv) castmates. There, she greeted fans and signed autographs.
- Mother of 'Tracy Reiner' (qv).
- She was one of 4 finalists considered for the role of Gloria Bunker/Stivic on _"All in the Family" (1971)_ (qv). Had she won the role, she would have played opposite her real life boyfriend, and later husband (now ex-husband), 'Rob Reiner' (qv).
- Best remembered as "Laverne DeFazio" on _"Laverne & Shirley" (1976)_ (qv).
- Her mother agreed to send her to University of New Mexico because she thought it was close to her home in New York.
- Played the wife of her real-life brother 'Garry Marshall' (qv) in _Hocus Pocus (1993)_ (qv).
- She replaced 'Howard Zieff' (qv) as director of _Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986)_ (qv) despite having only a couple of _"Laverne & Shirley" (1976)_ (qv) and _"Happy Days" (1974)_ (qv) episodes on her directing resumé.