Even though there’s no crying in baseball, many tears have been shed for the late Penny Marshall, who passed away at the age of 75 on Monday, December 17.
The Bronx’s own actress, director and producer was responsible for the films, ‘Big,’ ‘Awakenings,’ and of course, ‘A League of Their Own,’ in addition to many other classics.
Born Carole Penny Marshall on Friday, October 15, 1943, she was named after her mother Marjorie Irene’s favorite actress, Carole Lombard. Marshall spent her youth growing up on the northern tip of the Grand Concourse along with her brother, Garry Marshall, whom passed at the age of 81 in 2016.
Their 3235 Grand Concourse home was just across from Mosholu Parkway and Penny’s future spouse, actor Rob Reiner.
She spoke openly of her Bronx upbringing, attending M.S. 80 at 149 E. Mosholu Parkway North, and her relationship with Reiner in her 2012 memoir, ‘My Mom Was Nuts.’
“When Rob Reiner and I were children, we lived across the street from each other. We never met because the Grand Concourse was a busy street, and we were too young to cross it,” Marshall wrote, later going on to commend Reiner’s household for giving out the best Halloween candy each year.
Fortunately, Marshall’s career lasted much longer than their ten-year marriage which spanned 1971 to 1981.
After hearing of his ex-wife’s passing, Reiner took to Twitter posting, “I loved Penny. I grew up with her. She was born with a great gift. She was born with a funnybone and the instinct of how to use it. I was very lucky to have lived with her and her funnybone. I will miss her.”
Reiner wasn’t her only Bronx connection to Hollywood, though.
Early in her acting career, Marshall starred in the television version of fellow late Bronxite Neil Simon’s ‘The Odd Couple,’ as Myrna Turner, Oscar Madison’s secretary.
Marshall even made an appearance in the show’s 2016 re-boot as the character Patty.
The original version of the TV series was produced by her brother Garry and Reiner made a guest appearance.
It was Garry that influenced Penny to get involved on the other side of the camera.
He directed ‘Pretty Woman,’ about the same time that Penny had fully switched gears towards directing in the the early 1990s.
After becoming the first woman director to gross over $100 million at the box office with ‘Big’ in 1988, Marshall would again call on the film’s star, Tom Hanks to manage the Rockford Peaches in ‘A League of Their Own’ in 1992.
That legendary baseball comedy scored its way into the history books when the United States National Film Registry, run by the Library of Congress, recognized it for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” in 2012.
The last film that Marshall directed was the 2001 biography, ‘Riding In Cars with Boys’ which starred Drew Barrymore.
She continued producing until 2005, when her film, ‘Cinderella Man’ received three Academy Award nominations.
Marshall never won an Oscar throughout her illustrious career.
In 2010, Marshall was diagnosed with lung cancer that eventually spread to her brain. But fortunately it went into remission allowing her to complete her memoir.
If there’s anything that Penny Marshall taught the world, it’s how important laughter is.