Penny Marshall’s Big Legacy

Penny Marshall as Laverne

Lets raise a toast of Pepsi and milk to Penny Marshal, a comic genius who was in a league of her own.

Like Laverne, she did it her way.

With her distinctive nasal New York voice so redolent of the Grand Concourse in the Bronx she was a trailblazer who didn’t fit a traditional mold, carving out her unique and permanent place in pop culture history and in our hearts.

Penny Marshall

Actress Penny Marshall, who found fame in TV’s “Laverne & Shirley” before going on to direct such beloved films as “Big” and “A League of Their Own,” has died at 75

Not unlike her iconic character Laverne,  Penny Marshal was exuberant and eccentric. Never a conventional beauty she was unapologetic and owned her presence. Abrasive but warm-hearted, vulnerable but strong as steel. And funny. Boy was she funny.

A pioneering director and producer she made studio films when very few women did. She hit is out of the park grossing $100 million with “Big’ and another home run with “A League of Their Own.” That alone puts her in the Hall of Fame.

Born Carole Penny Marshall in the Bronx she was named by her parents after that great 1930’s screwball comedienne Carole Lombard. Marshal eventually dropped the Carole, but the screwball part stuck.

And how.

Making Our Dreams Come True


Is there a person of a certain generation who does not know the words to the opening theme of “Laverne and Shirley” who is not softly singing it to themselves this morning?

The image of two girls skipping down the street in Milwaukee arm in arm improbably reciting a Yiddish American hopscotch chant “Shlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!” is indelibly imprinted in all our collective consciousness.

Ironically Penny was neither a schlemiel or a schlimazel.

With her comedy chops rivaling Lucille Balls’ she was not a schlemiel which is a clumsy person, nor was she a schlimazel, an unlucky one. Penny Marshall achieved enormous success in her life.

And aren’t we the lucky ones.






  1. It was a very funny show, and I join you in singing Penny Marshall’s praises for being one of the more brilliant comedians and directors and producers of films of her generation. The films were instant classics. I think it is fair to say there is no need to add the descriptive “female” or “woman” in front of any of her accomplishments. She set a standard for all who follow and her work established opportunities for women in film that weren’t there since the early years of film when women filled virtually all the roles – writers, producers, directors, cinematographers, etc. – before a male hierarchy established itself and pretty much locked women out. (Ida Lupino was one major exception….)


    • I agree, her accomplishments were enormous, and she did break big barriers for women which sadly still remain


      • Yes, it seems every time some woman breaks through and accomplishes amazing things in some endeavor, it is treated as an anomaly, not proof that women are capable of amazing things when given a chance or when they take
        on tasks on their own that traditionally are given to men.

        There is truth still to the notion that a woman has to work twice as hard to get half the benefits a man would get doing the same job.

        Liked by 1 person

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