Appreciation: Penny Marshall Left Behind A ‘Big’ Legacy

Marshall followed that with “Awakenings” — a moving drama starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams — before reuniting with Hanks on “A League of Their Own,” the popular baseball movie that made its debut in 1992.
Marshall directed three more movies over the next decade (“Renaissance Man,” the remake “The Preacher’s Wife,” “Riding in Cars With Boys”), then shifted to episodic TV work and occasional guest appearances. But in hindsight, her career was largely defined by what amounted to a staggeringly creative 20-year stretch beginning in the mid-1970s, bookended by the premiere of “Laverne & Shirley” and the release of “The Preacher’s Wife,” which starred Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston.
In interviews, Marshall often talked frankly about her insecurities, including her concerns early in her career that she wasn’t pretty enough to succeed as an actress. “I grew up believing an actress is supposed to be beautiful,” she once said.
    At the same time, she was immersed in show business, having been married to actor-director Rob Reiner (they later divorced) in addition to her frequent collaboration with her late brother, which included narrating his final film, “Mother’s Day,” and guest starring in his “The Odd Couple” series revival, both in 2016.
    To paraphrase the “Laverne & Shirley” theme song, Marshall might not have made all her dreams come true. But her self-confessed doubts notwithstanding, she left behind a big, beautiful screen legacy.


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