Penny Marshall Bio - Biography

Name Penny Marshall
Height 5' 6"
Naionality American
Date of Birth October 15, 1943
Place of Birth The Bronx, New York, USA
Famous for
Actress, director. Born Carole Penny Marscharellion on October 15, 1945, in New York City. Born into a showbiz family in The Bronx, Penny's first major television role was playing Jack Klugman's secretary Myrna Turner on her brother Garry's first hit series, The Odd Couple from 1970-75. This part was followed up with a role as Paul Sand's sister-in-law on the series Friends and Lovers, which ran from 1974-1975.

Penny Marshall was catapulted into stardom in 1976, as loud-mouthed, accident-prone Laverne DeFazio. Laverne first appeared on an episode of Happy Days, and then was spun-off to her own sitcom by brother Garry. The show was a slapstick, almost improvisational story of two blue-collar pals (Marshall and Cindy Williams) in late 1950s Milwaukee. An immediate success with audiences, Laverne & Shirley ran from 1977-1983.

Though series sitcoms were Penny Marshall's forte, she did appear in a few TV-movies, including The Feminist and the Fuzz in 1971, a starring role in Wives in 1975, and a role in 1978 with then-husband Rob Reiner in More Than Friends.

Marshall did not enjoy similar succes as an actor on the big screen. After bit parts in films such as Steven Spielberg's 1941 in 1979, The Hard Way in 1991, Hocus Pocus in 1993 and Get Shorty in 1995, Marshall turned her attentions to directing. In 1986, she was called in as a replacement director on the Whoopi Goldberg comedy Jumpin' Jack Flash. This was followed in 1988 by her first certifiable hit, Big starring Tom Hanks. By deftly mixing the whimsical and the warm-hearted, Marshall encouraged audiences to get nostalgic for their ostensibly innocent American childhoods.

Though Big established Penny Marshall as a skilled comedic director, she didn't sit on her laurels. Instead, in 1990, she turned to a more sobering topic with her Oscar-nominated psychological hospital drama, Awakenings, starring Robert De Niro.

By the time she directed the feature A League Of Their Own in 1991, Penny Marshall was one of the most bankable directors in Hollywood. The optimistic story of an all-female baseball team during World War II, A League Of Their Own featured Tom Hanks as an alcoholic manager and Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Rosie O'Donnell and Madonna as his rough-and-tumble players.

After producing two mediocre films (Jason Priestley's Calendar Girl and Getting Away with Murder in 1996), Marshall returned to the director's chair in 1994 with the comedy Renaissance Man/By the Book starring Danny De Vito as an ad man turned English teacher. And then in 1996, Marshall directed The Preacher's Wife starring Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. It was perhaps the first time a white woman directed a big-budget, all-black movie. In 2001, she directed the comedy-turned-drama Riding in Cars with Boys starring Drew Barrymore. The true-life story of Beverly Donofrio, the film tells the story of a cop's daughter who falls in with the wrong crowd and gets knocked up and married at 15.

Recently Penny Marshall served as a producer on the big screen adaptation of the beloved television series Bewitched (2005) and the boxing drama Cinderella Man (2005). She was also interviewed for the 2006 HBO documentary Boffo! Tinseltown’s Bombs and Blockbusters.

Penny Marshall was formerly married to actor-director Rob Reiner. Her daughter is actress Tracy Reiner.

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