Penny would all but retire from acting after Laverne and Shirley ended, choosing instead to become a director, directing one of the biggest hits of the 1980’s- Big. She directed hit after hit- Awakenings, A League Of their Own among them, occasionally taking small but memorable roles, like her part in Disney’s Hocus Pocus.
Always willing to do anything for a laugh, Penny Marshall elevated everyone around her by showing that even one of the biggest stars of the 1970’s wasn’t above the occasional pratfall to get a laugh. She even took the Hollywood archetype- Of the loose, friendly girl who would never be the star of the show and would primarily just be comic relief- and turned it on its head. Tough talking Laverne DeFazio wasn’t just a stereotypical tramp; she was a fully fleshed out character with feelings and dreams. Her Laverne had heart and would be enthusiastically welcomed into homes around the United States and the world. Her contributions to the world will never be forgotten; and neither will she.