Cindy Williams

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In the two-hour, solo portion of her Archive interview, Cindy Williams talks about her early years acting in high school and her first television work on Room 222 with director James L. Brooks. She describes her early film career, appearing in the critically acclaimed features "American Graffiti" directed by George Lucas and "The Conversation" directed by Francis Ford Coppola. She recounts being cast on Happy Days as "Shirley Feeney" along with her writing partner Penny Marshall as "Laverne DeFazio," and the characters quickly being spun-off into their own series, Laverne & Shirley. Williams recalls many aspects of that show, including its humor, fan reaction, the fame that resulted from the show, and leaving the show in 1982 before its run was over. She discusses her post-Laverne & Shirley career, including appearing in the pilot for Steel Magnolias, the series Getting By, and appearing on Broadway in "The Drowsy Chaperone." She concludes the solo portion of her interview by discussing her then-current projects, advice to aspiring actors, and her legacy in television. In the hour-and-a-half, joint portion of their Archive interview, Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall outline how they met and began writing together. They speak of how Laverne & Shirley came about, and Williams' initial hesitancy to commit to the series. They chronicle the show's physical comedy bits, their on-screen chemistry, and their co-stars, including Michael McKean and David L. Lander as "Lenny" and "Squiggy." They detail various reunion shows, reuniting on the series Sam & Cat, and their friendship over the years. Nancy Harrington conducted the interviews on August 7, 2013 in Hollywood, California.

"I went to see 'Wayne's World' and suddenly they're doing a parody of 'Laverne & Shirley!' I called Penny to tell her. She asks, 'How was it?' And I said, 'You will be simultaneously honored and humiliated.' And that was the spirit that those two characters really embodied. That's what I love about them."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Cindy Williams on her first appearance on Happy Days  and on working with the cast
Cindy Williams on "Shirley Feeney's" wardrobe on Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on the effect the film "American Graffiti" had on her career and her fame
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the theme song and opening credits to Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on what she enjoys about acting
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and family; on finding humor early in life; on her early memories of television; on her early start in theater in high school when "the bug bit"
On her college years; on her early commercial work
On her first television appearance on Room 222; on working with director James L. Brooks; on The Funny Side with Gene Kelly
On being cast in the film "American Graffiti"; on working with George Lucas and Ron Howard; on what the film did for her career
On working on the film "The Conversation" directed by Francis Ford Coppola; on the television shows she worked on in the early 1970s
On auditioning for "Star Wars"; on where George Lucas came up with "Chewbacca"; on becoming a member of the Actors Studio West
On first appearing on Happy Days; on working with Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, and Penny Marshall
On how Laverne & Shirley came about; on the premise of the show and her character "Shirley Feeney"

Chapter 2

On the character of "Shirley Feeney" on Laverne & Shirley; on "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney's" favorite song "High Hopes" on Laverne & Shirley;  on the humor of Laverne & Shirley
On how Laverne & Shirley represented '50's women; on working with Penny Marshall as "Laverne DeFazio" on Laverne & Shirley; on fan reaction to Laverne & Shirley and the fame that resulted from being on the show
On her schedule during the run of Laverne & Shirley; on her favorite Laverne & Shirley episodes; on directing an episode of Laverne & Shirley and the location of the show moving to Hollywood in season six; on leaving the show
On her immediate post-Laverne & Shirley career; on appearing in the pilot for Steel Magnolias; on appearing in the series Getting By
On appearing in the made-for-television movie The Stepford Husbands; on appearing on Broadway in "The Drowsy Chaperone"

Chapter 3

On then-current projects; on what fans would be surprised to know about her and what fans say to her; on what she enjoys about acting
On how the television industry has changed since she started; on her proudest achievement and biggest regret; on advice to aspiring actors and her legacy on television 

Chapter 4

START OF JOINT INTERVIEW WITH PENNY MARSHALL: on how they met; on writing together; on how Laverne & Shirley came about; on introducing the characters of "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney" on Happy Days and the first episode of Laverne & Shirley
On Cindy Williams' New York accent on the early episodes of Laverne & Shirley; on the various elements of Laverne & Shirley
On the physical comedy of Laverne & Shirley; on their chemistry on Laverne & Shirley
On the similarities between "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney" and themselves and the male guest stars of Laverne & Shirley; on the cast of Laverne & Shirley
On the atmosphere on the set of Laverne & Shirley; on working with Garry Marshall on Laverne & Shirley; on the theme song and opening credits to Laverne & Shirley
On Laverne & Shirley changing its setting to Hollywood; on the merchandising of Laverne & Shirley

Chapter 5

On the Laverne & Shirley animated series; on doing promotion for Laverne & Shirley; on doing Laverne & Shirley reunion shows
On their favorite episodes of Laverne & Shirley; on the legacy of Laverne & Shirley; on reuniting on the series Sam & Cat, and their friendship over the years
Shows

Happy Days

View Show Page
Cindy Williams on her first appearance on Happy Days  and on working with the cast
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on introducing the characters of "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney" on Happy Days

Laverne & Shirley

View Show Page
Cindy Williams on her Laverne & Shirley  character "Shirley Feeney"
Cindy Williams on "Shirley Feeney"'s character and love life on Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on her input on "Shirley Feeney" on Laverne & Shirley  and how "Boo Boo Kitty" came about
Cindy Williams on whether there were rules for her character "Shirley Feeney" on Laverne and Shirley
Cindy Williams on "Shirley Feeney's" wardrobe on Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney's" favorite song "High Hopes" on Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on the humor of Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on how Laverne & Shirley represented '50's women
Cindy Williams on working with Penny Marshall on the physical comedy of Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on working with Penny Marshall as "Laverne DeFazio" on Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on fan reaction to Laverne & Shirley and the fame that resulted from being on the show
Cindy Williams on her schedule during the run of Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on her favorite Laverne & Shirley episodes
Cindy Williams on directing an episode of Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney" moving to Hollywood in season six of Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on leaving Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on how Laverne & Shirley came about
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on Cindy Williams' initial hesitancy to appear on Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the first episode of Laverne & Shirley and early reaction to the show
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on Cindy Williams' New York accent on the early episodes of Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on how the characters of "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney" changed in the transition from Happy Days to Laverne & Shirley and the wardrobe and set design of the show
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on working on the set of Laverne & Shirley and how "milk and pepsi" came about
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on what they brought to Laverne & Shirley from their own lives and the dancing on the show
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the physical comedy of Laverne & Shirley 
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the writing of Laverne & Shirley and their favorite physical bits from the show
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on rehearsing the physical bits for Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on their chemistry on Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the similarities between "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney" and themselves and the male guest stars of Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on working with Michael McKean and David L. Lander as "Lenny" and "Squiggy" on Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on Eddie Mekka as "Carmine 'The Big Ragu' Ragusa" on Laverne & Shirley 
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on Phil Foster as "Frank DeFazio" on Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the atmosphere on the set of Laverne & Shirley 
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on working with Garry Marshall on Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the theme song and opening credits to Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on Laverne & Shirley changing its setting to Hollywood
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the merchandising of Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the Laverne & Shirley animated series
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on doing promotion for Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on doing Laverne & Shirley reunion shows
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on their favorite episodes of Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the legacy of Laverne & Shirley 
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on reuniting on the series Sam & Cat
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on their friendship over the years

Room 222

View Show Page
Cindy Williams on her first television appearance on Room 222  and working with director James L. Brooks
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Cindy Williams on advice to aspiring actors

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Cindy Williams on her Laverne & Shirley  character "Shirley Feeney"
Cindy Williams on "Shirley Feeney"'s character and love life on Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on her input on "Shirley Feeney" on Laverne & Shirley  and how "Boo Boo Kitty" came about
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on how the characters of "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney" changed in the transition from Happy Days  to Laverne & Shirley  and the wardrobe and set design of the show

Fame & Celebrity

View Topic
Cindy Williams on fan reaction to Laverne & Shirley  and the fame that resulted from being on the show 

First Big Break

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Cindy Williams on the effect the film "American Graffiti" had on her career and her fame

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Cindy Williams on the effect the film "American Graffiti" had on her career and her fame

Pop Culture

View Topic
Cindy Williams on her Laverne & Shirley  character "Shirley Feeney"
Cindy Williams on "Shirley Feeney"'s character and love life on Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on her input on "Shirley Feeney" on Laverne & Shirley  and how "Boo Boo Kitty" came about
Cindy Williams on "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney's" favorite song "High Hopes" on Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on how the characters of "Laverne DeFazio" and "Shirley Feeney" changed in the transition from Happy Days  to Laverne & Shirley  and the wardrobe and set design of the show
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on working on the set of Laverne & Shirley  and how "milk and pepsi" came about
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the theme song and opening credits to Laverne & Shirley

TV Theme Songs

View Topic
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on the theme song and opening credits to Laverne & Shirley

Television Industry

View Topic
Cindy Williams on fan reaction to Laverne & Shirley  and the fame that resulted from being on the show
Cindy Williams on how the television industry has changed since she started
Cindy Williams on advice to aspiring actors
Professions

Actress

View Profession
Cindy Williams on working with Penny Marhsall on the physical comedy of Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on what she enjoys about acting
Cindy Williams on advice to aspiring actors
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on performing the physical comedy of Laverne & Shirley

Performers

View Profession
Cindy Williams on working with Penny Marhsall on the physical comedy of Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on what she enjoys about acting
Cindy Williams on advice to aspiring actors
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on performing the physical comedy of Laverne & Shirley
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Cindy Williams on her first television appearance on Room 222  and working with director James L. Brooks
Cindy Williams on playing "Shirley Feeney" on Happy Days
Cindy Williams on playing "Shirley Feeney" on Laverne & Shirley (Part 1)
Cindy Williams on playing "Shirley Feeney" on Laverne & Shirley  (Part 2)
Cindy Williams on appearing in the series Getting By
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on starring on Laverne & Shirley (Part 1)
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on starring on Laverne & Shirley (Part 2)

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Cindy Williams on appearing in the made-for-television movie The Stepford Husbands
People

James L. Brooks

View Interview Page
Cindy Williams on her first television appearance on Room 222  and working with director James L. Brooks

Francis Ford Coppola

View Person Page
Cindy Williams on working on the film "The Conversation," directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Cindy Williams on working again with Francis Ford Coppola and being teamed up with Penny Marshall

Phil Foster

View Person Page
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on Phil Foster as "Frank DeFazio" on Laverne & Shirley

Ron Howard

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Cindy Williams on working with actor Ron Howard on the film "American Graffiti"
Cindy Williams on reuniting with her "American Graffiti" co-star Ron Howard when she first appeared on Happy Days

Gene Kelly

View Person Page
Cindy Williams on her appearances on the hour-long musical show The Funny Side with host Gene Kelly

David L. Lander

View Person Page
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on working with Michael McKean and David L. Lander as "Lenny" and "Squiggy" on Laverne & Shirley

George Lucas

View Person Page
Cindy Williams on working with George Lucas on "American Graffiti" and his directing style on that movie

Penny Marshall

View Interview Page
Cindy Williams on working again with Francis Ford Coppola and being teamed up with Penny Marshall
Cindy Williams on working with Penny Marshall on the physical comedy of Laverne & Shirley
Cindy Williams on working with Penny Marshall as "Laverne DeFazio" on Laverne & Shirley

Garry Marshall

View Interview Page
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on working with Garry Marshall on Laverne & Shirley

Michael McKean

View Person Page
Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall on working with Michael McKean and David L. Lander as "Lenny and Squiggy" on Laverne & Shirley

Henry Winkler

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Cindy Williams on her Happy Days  co-star Henry Winkler

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