Remembering Penny Marshall's Most Memorable TV Roles, from Laverne & Shirley to The Odd Couple


Based on the 1965 play of the same name written by Neil Simon, the original TV adaptation was developed by Marshall’s brother Garry for ABC. He cast his sister as Myrna Turner, Oscar Madison’s (Jack Klugman) secretary.

Fun fact: Myrna ended up marrying “Sheldn” (his legal name since the “o” was omitted from his birth certificate), played by Rob Reiner, Marshall’s husband at the time.

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Marshall appeared in three episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, first as a character named Toni in 1974, and later as Paula Kovacs in 1975 and 1976 episodes.

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Garry first cast his sister and Cindy Williams to guest on an episode of Happy Days in 1975, introducing the beloved characters Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney (played by Marshall and Williams, respectively) to the world for the first time.

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We just couldn’t get enough of these two, so the Happy Days spin-off Laverne & Shirley was born. Marshall shot to stardom on the sitcom, earning three Golden Globe nominations for her role opposite Williams as two friends and roommates working as bottle-cappers in a Milwaukee brewery.

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BONES (2006)

Though Marshall went on to become one of Hollywood’s most important directors, she continued to appear in small TV roles — sometimes as herself, as she did on Entourage and Bones.

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In one episode fo the sketch comedy series, Marshall played Barbara, the original co-founder of feminist bookstore Women & Women First who went off to make a fortune on her own.

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MULANEY (2014)

Marshall guested on one episode of John Mulaney’s short-lived Fox sitcom. She and Lorraine Bracco played a lesbian couple, Tutti and Vaughn, close friends of Mulaney’s gay neighbor Oscar (Elliott Gould).

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Marshall’s last small screen role was in CBS’ Odd Couple reboot. She appeared in the 2016 “Taffy Days” episode, a tribute to her brother Garry, who died that year at 81 due to complications from pneumonia. The episode welcomed a bevy of stars from his previous sitcoms.

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