If you love watching American sitcoms, you must have heard of Laverne and Shirley. It became one of the most popular TV series by its third season. The comedy program has six Golden Globe nominations and one Emmy nomination. The first episode aired in January 1976.
Now, you must be wondering why we are talking about it now. It is because we are shocked by the demise of one of its leading ladies. Yes, you read it right. Our Shirley Feeney is no more with us.
Actress Cindy Williams who aced this role left us on 25 January 2023 at the age of 75. Her family confirmed the news on Monday. She also starred in American Graffiti and The Conversation. The other cast members also did a great job.
But, we still can’t get over the show’s charisma. Let’s know more about the show. And, which cast members are still alive in 2023?
Laverne and Shirley: Cast, Characters, and All You Need To Know
Laverne and Shirley is a fiction comedy produced by Paramount Television. The series has eight seasons. The two characters were first seen in Happy Days alongside Fonzie. Happy Days was one of the most famous sitcoms of the 70s era.
As a result, Happy Days got seven spin-offs. Out of which, Laverne and Shirley became the most successful. The show features two friends and roommates. Laverne DeFazio played by Penny Marshall is a tomboy.
You will see her wearing tops with the letter L imprinted on them. Shirley Feeney is the complete opposite. She is sensitive but full of energy. Cindy Williams was cast for this role.
Both the girls worked together at Shotz Brewery in Milwaukee. It also features Leonard “Lenny” Kosnowski in the main role. He is a truck driver who annoys Laverne and Shirley. This character by Michael McKean amuses with his silly acts.
David Lander as Andrew “Squiggy” Squiggman is a roommate and friend of Lenny. He is famous for his unique ‘Hello’. Both the boys were seen in the 7th and 8th seasons. The show also stars Eddie Mekka and Phil Foster as Carmine Ragusa and Fabrizio “Frank” DeFazio.
The show has various other supporting and recurring cast members. Renowned screenwriter and filmmaker Garry Marshall created this show. Its plot is set around 1958. Seasons 1 to 5 showed the ups and downs of Laverne and Shirley’s life humorously.
The girls also joined the army reserve in season 5. It led to another spin-off. The animated show Laverne & Shirley in the Army also started in 1981. The fandom of the show was beyond crazy.
The dolls of the leading characters were there in the market. The other merchandise included toys, coloring books, and Halloween costumes.
In seasons 6 to 8, the laughter toll shifted to California. Laverne and Shirley moved to the city with their friends.
The bottle cappers were now the gift wrappers. The other characters also started new ventures. The new place came up with new characters and interesting stories. Season by season the carefree girls matured.
This added much more depth to the show. Despite the show’s popularity, the makers couldn’t go for another season due to budget restrictions. That’s how the journey of Laverne and Shirley came to an end with its final episode in May 1983. This marked the 178th episode of the series.
Who From Laverne and Shirley Are Still Alive in 2023?
We have bad news in this regard. Most of the cast members of the show are no more. Penny Marshall (Laverne) died on 17th December 2018 at the age of 75. The actress was suffering from cardiovascular disease.
She was the master behind the camera also. Penny directed classic movies such as Big (1988) and A League Of Their Own (1992). Michael McKean (Lenny) is the only main star alive in 2023. He is currently voicing Lou Pickles from the animated TV series Rugrats.
Sadly, his buddy, David Lander (Squiggy) died in 2020 of an MS complication. Fortunately, some of the recurring cast members are also alive. It includes Leslie Easterbrook as Rhonda Lee, Charles Fleischer as Chuck, Ed Marinaro as Sonny St. Jacques, Vicki Lawrence as Sargeant Alvinia T Plout, Carole Ita White as Big Rosie Greenbaum, and Judy Pioli as Terri Buttefuco.