Penny Marshall is an American actress, producer and director.
After playing several small roles for television, she was cast as Laverne DeFazio in the sitcom Laverne and Shirley. A ratings success, the show ran from 1976 until 1983, and Marshall received three Golden Globe award nominations for her performance.
She progressed to directing films such as Big, the first film directed by a woman to gross in excess of $100 million at the U.S. box office, Awakenings, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, and A League of Their Own. In more recent years, she has produced Cinderella Man and Bewitched, as well as episodes of According to Jim. She most recently directed an episode of the Showtime original series United States of Tara.
Marshall was born Carole Penny Marshall in The Bronx, New York City, the daughter of Marjorie Irene, a tap dance teacher who ran a dance school, and Anthony Wallace Marshall, a director of industrial films and later a producer. She is the sister of actor/director/TV producer Garry Marshall and Ronny Hallin, a TV producer. Her father was of Italian descent, his family having come from Abruzzo, and her mother was of English and Scottish descent; her father changed his last name from “Marsciarelli” to “Marshall” before Penny was born. In the 1950s, she grew up in an apartment on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx on a block that also spawned Neil Simon, Paddy Chayefsky, Calvin Klein, and Ralph Lauren. She is a graduate of Walton High School in New York City and attended the University of New Mexico. In 1967, she moved to Los Angeles to join her older brother Garry Marshall, a writer whose credits at the time included TV’s The Dick Van Dyke Show .