Williams’ children, Zak and Emily Hudson, announced the sad news via a statement through family spokeswoman Liza Cranis.
“The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed,” the statement reads. “Knowing and loving her has been our joy and privilege. She was one of a kind, beautiful, generous and possessed a brilliant sense of humor and a glittering spirit that everyone loved.”
Williams played Shirley Feeney to Penny Marshall‘s Laverne DeFazio in the popular spinoff of the Ron Howard and Henry Winkler sitcom, Happy Days. Laverne & Shirley ran from 1976 to 1983 and featured the two roommates who worked at the Shotz Brewery in Milwaukee.
Williams left the show after eight seasons when she became pregnant with her first child.
Williams learned to act when she first started at The Actors Studio West alongside Sally Field and Robert De Niro. In 1973, Marshall got her truly big break after she was cast in George Lucas‘ American Graffiti as Laurie Henderson, for which she received a BAFTA nomination for best actress in a supporting role. Williams also had a role in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation in 1974.
Williams returned to sitcoms in the 1990s and in Normal Life and Getting By which was made by Laverne & Shirley producers Thomas L. Miller and Robert L. Boyett.