'Laverne & Shirley': How Cindy Williams Was Written out of the Sitcom's Last Season

Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams were an instant hit when Laverne & Shirley hit the airwaves in 1976. Playing single roommates and besties Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney, Marshall and Williams were the center of the sitcom and brought in top ratings each week with their comedic chemistry. Fans were stunned when Williams left the show just two episodes into the final season, though they got to see Shirley finding the man of her dreams.

‘Laverne & Shirley’ was filmed with a live audience

Williams recently raved of her former co-star and her talent to make people laugh. Both actors thrived in the comedy genre.

“[Marshall] was just a natural entertainer, a natural performer,” Williams told Allison Kugel on her podcast, Allison Interviews. “I went to theater arts college at Los Angeles City College which was a rigorous program. They taught you everything about theater and I knew everything about the stage, but nothing about film and television, which was ironic because I lived in Hollywood and wanted to work in film and television.”

Since Laverne & Shirley was performed before a studio audience, Marshall and Williams loved receiving the on-set laughs for their hilarious storylines. Williams revealed that some guest stars would get a bit of stage fright.

“Later on, in Laverne & Shirley, we had film actors come on and they played little parts for fun,” she explained. “But they were thrown by our live audience. They were used to having camera closeups, which I knew nothing about. Penny and I could not understand why they were thrown by our audience of 200 people. I won’t name who, but some of these wonderful film stars were really thrown by it.”

Cindy Williams was pregnant when the last season of ‘Laverne & Shirley began

Williams was written out of the show after the second episode of season eight. The storyline featured Shirley finally meeting Mr. Right and getting married to Army medic Walter Meany – making her married name Shirley Feeney Meany. In her last appearance, Shirley also discovers she is pregnant and the couple then moves away. The sitcom continued sans Williams, though the title was kept intact.

‘Laverne & Shirley’ was an instant hit

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