‘Laverne’ role gave Marshall springboard to historic career

NEW YORK (AP) — Actress-director Penny Marshall is being remembered for her wit and the ground she broke in the male-dominated film business.

Marshall, who rose to fame as one of the stars of the television hit “Laverne & Shirley,” died Monday night in her Los Angeles home at age 75. She directed several episodes of the series, which led to directing the 1986 comedy “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”

Two years later when “Big” was released, Marshall became the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million.

“Big” producer James L. Brooks praised her for making “films which celebrated humans” and for her helping hand to young comedians and writers.

Tom Hanks, who starred in “Big” and another Marshall film, “A League of Their Own, reminisced Tuesday about the laughs they shared.

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