Penny Marshall

(Carole Penelope Masciarelli)
director, actress
Born: 10/15/1942
Birthplace: Bronx, New York

Born into a showbiz family, the younger sister of TV producer Garry Marshall landed her first major TV role as Jack Klugman's secretary Myrna in The Odd Couple (1970–75). Her biggest break came when Garry recruited his sister and real-life friend Cindy Williams to play “fast girls” on his hit ABC series Happy Days (1974–1984). The pair proved so popular that the network engineered an equally successful spin-off, Laverne and Shirley (1976–1983), which followed the girls' adventures as poor-but-happy Milwaukee beer-factory workers. Struggling to build on her success, Marshall appeared in a number of forgettable TV movies and feature films, but it was her role as director for a handful of Laverne and Shirley episodes that foreshadowed her Hollywood future. Her big-screen directorial debut, the Whoopi Goldberg vehicle, Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986), was unsuccessful. Undaunted, her next feature, Big (1988), won an Oscar nomination for actor Tom Hanks and established Marshall as a masterful comic director. Later she directed Hanks, Madonna, and Geena Davis in the hit baseball comedy, A League of Their Own (1992), and Drew Barrymore and James Woods in Riding in Cars with Boys (2001).

She was formerly married to actor/director Rob Reiner; their daughter Tracy Reiner is an actress.

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