Cynthia Jane Williams (born August 22, 1947) is an American actress best known for her role as Shirley Feeney on the television sitcom Laverne & Shirley (1976–1982).
Williams in Laverne & Shirley
|Born||August 22, 1947|
Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
(m. 1982; div. 2000)
Williams was born in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California to Francesca (née Bellini) and Beachard Williams. The family moved to Dallas, Texas when she was a year old and returned to the San Fernando Valley, when she was 10. She has one sibling, a sister, Carol Ann. She graduated from Birmingham High School in 1965. Her classmates included financier Michael Milken, actress Sally Field, and talent agent Michael Ovitz. She attended Los Angeles City College.
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 character's high school sweetheart in George Lucas's American Graffiti (1973) for which she earned a BAFTA nomination as Best Supporting Actress; 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 with 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 been feuding for quite some time, and this had also spurred her decision to leave. They would reconcile a few years later. The success of the Garry Marshall series led to a Saturday morning animated series Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour, created by Hanna-Barbera.
In 1990, Williams returned to series TV in the short-lived 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.
Williams 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 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.
- 1970: Gas-s-s-s as Marissa
- 1971: Drive, He Said as Manager's Girlfriend
- 1972: Beware! The Blob as Randy's Girl
- 1972: Travels with My Aunt as Tooley
- 1973: American Graffiti as Laurie Henderson
- 1973: The Killing Kind as Lori Davis
- 1974: The Conversation as Ann
- 1975: Mr. Ricco as Jamison
- 1976: The First Nudie Musical as Rosie
- 1979: More American Graffiti as Laurie Henderson Bolander
- 1983: The Creature Wasn't Nice as Annie McHugh
- 1985: UFOria as Arlene Stewart
- 1985: The Joy of Natural Childbirth as Herself
- 1989: Big Man on Campus as Diane Girard
- 1989: Rude Awakening as June Margolin
- 1991: Bingo as Natalie Devlin
- 1997: Meet Wally Sparks as Emily Preston
- 2002: The Biggest Fan as Debbie's Mom
- 2006: The Legend of William Tell as Jillian
- 2012: Stealing Roses as Rose
- 2018: Waiting in the Wings: Still Waiting as Rosie
- 1971: The Funny Side (6 episodes) as Teenage Wife
- 1973: Love, American Style as Karen Brown (segment "Love and the Time Machine") / Naomi Brubaker (segment "Love and the Face Bow")
- 1974: Hawaii Five-O (6.18 "Secret Witness") as Sue Reynolds
- 1974: The Migrants (TV Movie) as Betty
- 1974: Cannon (The Stalker) as June Bowers
- 1975–1979: Happy Days (5 episodes) as Shirley Feeney
- 1976–1982: Laverne & Shirley (159 episodes) as Shirley Feeney
- 1978: Suddenly, Love (TV movie) as Regina Malloy
- 1981–1982: Laverne & Shirley in the Army (13 episodes) as Shirley Feeney (voice)
- 1982: Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour (1 episode) as Shirley (voice)
- 1985: When Dreams Come True (TV Movie) as Susan Matthews
- 1986: Help Wanted: Kids as Lisa Burke
- 1986: The Leftovers as Heather Drew
- 1988: Save the Dog! (TV Movie) as Becky
- 1988: Tricks of the Trade (TV Movie) as Catherine
- 1990: Perry Mason: The Case of the Poisoned Pen (TV Movie) as Rita Sue Bliss
- 1990: Normal Life (13 episodes) as Anne Harlow
- 1990: Menu for Murder (TV Movie) as Connie Mann
- 1991: Earth Angel (TV Movie) as Judith
- 1993–1994: Getting By (31 episodes) as Cathy Hale
- 1994: Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman as Wandamae
- 1995: Escape from Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story (TV Movie) as Wanda Walden
- 1995: The Laverne & Shirley Reunion as Herself
- 1995: The Magic School Bus (1 episode) as Gerri Poveri (voice)
- 1996: The Stepford Husbands (TV Movie) as Caroline Knox
- 1999: The Patty Duke Show: Still Rockin' in Brooklyn Heights (TV Movie) as Sue Ellen Caldwell
- 2000–2001: Strip Mall (6 episodes) as Herself
- 2000–2002: For Your Love (3 episodes) as Ronnie
- 2002: Laverne & Shirley Together Again (TV Movie) as Herself / Shirley Feeney
- 2003: 8 Simple Rules as Mary Ellen Doyle
- 2004: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Nora Hodges
- 2007: Drive as House Mother
- 2012: Strawberry Summer (Hallmark name)
Easy Heart (Pixl name) (TV Movie) as Ruth Yates
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- "Cindy Williams sees a bit of 'Laverne & Shirley' in 'Nunset Boulevard'". The Daily Times.