For other people named Cindy Williams, see Cindy Williams (disambiguation).
Cynthia Jane "Cindy" Williams (born August 22, 1947) in Van Nuys, California is an American actress known for starring as Shirley Feeney in the television situation-comedy series Laverne & Shirley and for her role as Laurie Henderson in the classic film American Graffiti.
Williams was born to Francesca (née Bellini) and Beachard Williams. She has one sibling, a sister, Carol Ann. She graduated from Birmingham High School. She attended Los Angeles City College. To date, she has appeared in 19 films.
After college, Williams began her professional career by landing national commercials, which included Foster Grant sunglasses and TWA. Her first roles in television, among others, were on Room 222, Nanny and the Professor and Love, American Style. Having honed her skills at The Actors Studio West, Williams picked up important film roles early in her career: George Cukor's Travels with My Aunt (1972); as Laurie Henderson, Ron Howard's high school sweetheart in George Lucas' American Graffiti (1973); and Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation (1974). She auditioned for Lucas's next project, Star Wars, but lost the role of Princess Leia to Carrie Fisher.
In 1975, Williams was cast as a fun-loving brewery worker, Shirley Feeney, in an episode of Happy Days, alongside Penny Marshall, who played her best friend and roommate Laverne De Fazio. The girls were introduced as female companions of Fonzie (Henry Winkler) and their appearance proved so popular that Garry Marshall, producer of Happy Days and Penny Marshall's brother, commissioned a spin-off for the characters. Williams continued her role on the very successful Laverne & Shirley from 1976 until 1982. Although praised for her portrayal of Shirley, Williams left the show after the second episode of the show's eighth and final season, after she became pregnant with her first child. Williams and co-star Marshall had also been feuding for quite some time and this had also spurred her decision to leave. The show led to a Saturday morning animated series created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera with Marshall and Williams replaying their primetime roles: that same time, animated spin offs of Mork and Mindy and Happy Days appeared, featuring (respectively) the voices of Robin Williams, Pam Dawber and Winkler. They combined with Laverne and Shirley on ABC TV's Saturday morning block.
In 1990, Williams returned to series TV in the short-lived CBS sitcom Normal Life and a couple years later, reunited with former Laverne & Shirley producers Thomas L. Miller and Robert L. Boyett to star in their family sitcom Getting By (1993-94). She has guest starred on several television shows, including two episodes of 8 Simple Rules. She has performed onstage in the national tours of Grease, Deathtrap and Moon Over Buffalo and a regional production of Nunsense. She reunited with her Laverne & Shirley co-star Eddie Mekka in a November 2008 regional production of the Renée Taylor-Joseph Bologna comedy play It Had to Be You. Williams made her Broadway debut as daffy "Mrs. Tottendale" in The Drowsy Chaperone at the Marquis Theatre on December 11, 2007, succeeding JoAnne Worley in the role originated by Georgia Engel.
Williams made a guest appearance on illusionist David Copperfield's first CBS TV special in 1978. She assisted Copperfield in the Zig Zag Girl and a length-wise sawing-in-half illusions. Williams was co-producer on the successful Steve Martin comedy film Father of the Bride and its sequel. She starred in the play Weekend Comedy from April 3 to June 16, 2013 at the New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas. She reunited with Marshall on Sam & Cat, in the episode "#SalmonCat" (2013).
Williams was married to Bill Hudson of the musical trio Hudson Brothers in 1982. The marriage ended in divorce in 2000. Together they have two children: a daughter, Emily (born 1982) and a son, Zachary (born 1986). Williams is a practicing Catholic. In January 2000, an article in the Washington Post critical of military pay raises was written by a Cindy Williams who is a researcher at MIT. It has been attributed frequently and improperly to the actress.
Drive, He Said (1971),
Beware! The Blob (1972),
Travels with My Aunt (1972),
The Killing Kind (1973),
American Graffiti (1973),
The Conversation (1974),
Mr. Ricco (1975),
The First Nudie Musical (1976),
More American Graffiti (1979),
The Creature Wasn't Nice (also known as Naked Space) (1983),
Big Man on Campus (1989),
Rude Awakening (1989),
Meet Wally Sparks (1997),
The Biggest Fan (2002),
Stealing Roses (2012),
The Funny Side (1971) (canceled after 3 months),
The Migrants (1974),
Hawaii Five-O (1974, 6.18 "Secret Witness"),
Happy Days (5 episodes, 1975, 1976, 1979),
Laverne & Shirley (cast member from 1976-1982),
Laverne & Shirley in the Army (1981-1982) (voice),
The Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour (1982-1983) (voice),
When Dreams Come True (1985),
Help Wanted: Kids (1986),
The Leftovers (1986),
Save the Dog! (1988),
Tricks of the Trade (1988),
Just Like Family (1989) (canceled after a few weeks),
Perry Mason: The Case of the Poisoned Pen (1990),
Normal Life (1990) (canceled after 13 episodes),
Steel Magnolias (1990) (unsold pilot),
Menu for Murder (1990),
Earth Angel (1991),
Getting By (1993-94),
Escape from Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story (1995),
The Magic School Bus (1995) (voice; 1 episode) as Gerri Poveri,
The Stepford Husbands (1996),
The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' In Brooklyn Heights (1999) as Sue Ellen Caldwell (original cast member Kitty Sullivan was unavailable),
Strip Mall (2000-01),
Laverne & Shirley Together Again (2002),
8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter (2003) as Mary Ellen Doyle,
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (2004) as Nora Hodges,
Strawberry Summer (TV movie0 (2012),
Sam & Cat (2013)
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