Penny Marshall was born in Bronx, New York, a hop, skip and a jump from Yankee Stadium. As an avid sports fan and memorabilia collector, Marshall made her biggest contribution to sports with the film, A League of Their Own, about the All-American Girls professional Baseball League. Marshall served as the director for the hit that starred Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna.
The movie was a major success, grossing over $100 million, which made Marshall the first female director ever to have two movies make such an amount. (The first film was Big, which also starred Tom Hanks.)
Marshall got her start in show business as a teen when she performed with her mother’s tap-dancing troupe, which won Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour and appeared on the Jackie Gleason Show. From there, she was cast in three television series that were produced by her brother, Garry: The Odd Couple, Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley.
Marshall became most famous in her role as Laverne DeFazio in Lavergne & Shirley, a sitcom that ran from 1976-83. In recognition of her talent, Marshall earned three Golden Globe nominations from 1978-80 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series-Musical or Comedy.
Along with Big and A League of Their Own, Marshall has been responsible for the direction of Jumpin. Jack Flash, Awakenings, Renaissance Man, The Preacher’s Wife and Riding in Cars with Boys. However, it was her unforgettable film about women’s baseball that makes her contribution to sports everlasting and the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame pays homage to actress/producer/director Penny Marshall.
In 1991, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award. She was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.