Cindy Williams died last week (on Wednesday, January 25) after a brief illness, according to a statement from her family.
She was 75 years old when she died. She was best known for her role as Shirley Feeney on the sitcom Laverne & Shirley.
“The loss of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that can never truly be expressed,” her children said.
“Knowing and loving her has been both a joy and a privilege for us. She was one of a kind, beautiful, and generous, with a brilliant sense of humor and a sparkling spirit that everyone adored.”
Not surprisingly, celebrities and Williams’ former coworkers are now expressing their grief on social media. Among them is Ron Howard, who co-starred with her in the film American Graffiti.
The sitcom received six Golden Globe nominations and performed exceptionally well in the ratings. Williams took home the award for best actress in the comedy category.
Furthermore, she co-starred with Ron Howard in the classic films The Conversation (1974), Travels with My Aunt (1972), and, most notably, American Graffiti (1973).
In fact, Howard described himself as Williams’ close friend and how her death surprised him.
“I was shocked to learn of Cindy’s death. I recall her life spark and her energy,” Howard explained.
“I saw her at an event last year in Palm Springs, and she still had that sparkle in her eyes. It’s difficult to believe she’s gone.”
The Andy Griffith Show star said that Williams taught him how to kiss for his role in American Graffiti – the pair also played love interests in Laverne and Shirley.
“We were cast together in various projects for about four or five years,” Howard said, including The Migrants, a dramatic TV movie based on Tennessee Williams’ play, in 1974. We shared a specific chemistry. She was 24, and I was 18, but we played boyfriend and girlfriend in American Graffiti.”
“Cindy wanted to be remembered for the variety of characters she created — different tones and styles,” he concluded. Carol Burnett was admired for these qualities. Cindy had so much talent, but she didn’t want any of the ‘Hollywood traffic,’ so she just did her work.”
Another Hollywood star, Henry Winkler, expressed his condolences on Williams’ death, describing her in glowing terms.
“Cindy has been my friend and professional colleague since I met her on the set of Happy Days in 1975,” Winkler said. I’ve never been in her company when she wasn’t gracious, thoughtful, and kind.
“Cindy had boundless talent. There was no genre she couldn’t master. “I’m glad I knew her.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with Cindy Williams’ family during this tough time.
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