RIP: Penny Marshall, Director Of 'A League Of Their Own' And 'Big', Dead At 75

Sad news today as popular film director and comedian Penny Marshall has passed away at the age of 75.

Marshall had one of the great unexpected second acts of any Hollywood career. Her breakthrough role came as part of the 1970s TV series Laverne & Shirley, a spinoff from Happy Days that centered on the titular best friends, associates of the Fonz who worked as bottle cappers. Marshall earned three Golden Globes nominations for her portrayal as Laverne.

While she appeared on numerous TV shows, it was her unexpected turn as a director where she would earn the greatest acclaim of her career. Marshall had directed a few episodes of Laverne & Shirley, which was created by her equally legendary brother, Garry Marshall, but it was in 1986 when she was surprisingly named as fill-in director on the Whoopi Goldberg movie Jumpin' Jack Flash, replacing Howard Zieff. The comedy went on to be a modest $30M success, and the rest was history.

Marshall would use Jumpin' Jack Flash as a springboard to a directing career that saw her helm some of the most iconic films of the '80s and '90s including Big, Awakenings, and her most renowned effort, A League Of Their Own. Marshall had been in development on a film about Effa Manley, a baseball executive and the first woman ever inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Deadline says she was also in post on a movie involving her longtime friend, Dennis Rodman, but there are no further details.