'A League of Their Own' director Marshall dead at 75

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Dec 19 2018 05:33 AM

'A League of Their Own' director Marshall dead at 75 1
Penny Marshal attends the 16th annual Race to Erase MS, in Los Angeles, May 8, 2009. Phil McCarten, Reuters

Actress and director Penny Marshall, whose love of sports made her a regular in the Los Angeles celebrity fan crowd and helped inspire her to direct "A League of Their Own," died Monday night because of complications from diabetes, according to multiple reports Tuesday.

She was 75.

Born in the Bronx in 1943, Marshall first gained acclaim playing Laverne DeFazio, a character who first appeared on "Happy Days" and was one of the main protagonists of its spin-off, "Laverne & Shirley" in the 1970s and '80s.

While on "Laverne & Shirley," Marshall took her first seat in the director's chair, directing multiple episodes. Following the conclusion of the series, she turned her focus almost entirely to directing.

Her film directorial debut came in 1986 with "Jumping Jack Flash" starring Whoopi Goldberg. Her next film, 1988's "Big," put her among the directorial elite. Four years later, she directed "A League of Their Own," a fictional telling of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that was established during World War II.

She was also a very well-known face at LA sporting events, holding courtside seats for both the Clippers and Lakers (though she cited the cost and her fear of the Kiss Cam as reasons she changed her Lakers seats to a few rows off the court). She was also a frequent attendee of Dodgers games, sometimes sitting field level at Dodger Stadium with brother and fellow director Garry Marshall.

Garry Marshall died in 2016.

While she received plenty of honors and recognition for her TV and film work in her career, Penny Marshall was also inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.