Cindy Williams was born Cynthia Williams in Van Nuys, California on August 22, 1947. The Leo is 5’4″ and, during her first years on Laverne & Shirley (1976), weighed a dainty 105 lbs. The brown haired, blue-eyed female was born the daughter of Francesca Bellini and Beachard Williams. Her family was very poor (her father was an electronic technician), and Cindy grew up not in poverty, but close. She has one sister, Carol Ann Williams, and an older half-brother, Jim from her mother’s first marriage. As a child, she dreamed of being an actress. She used to create and perform her own plays and, as she grew, she wished that one day, Debbie Reynolds would see her in one of those amateur shows and whisk her away and put her in a film. Another thing that brought fame to her eyes was her father (who was an alcoholic)’s imitations of comics like Jackie Gleason and Milton Berle. She worked as a waitress, while she auditioned for commercials, television guest spots, and feature films. Her first step to fame was a movie in which she tap danced with Gene Kelly. She also stepped on Mr. Kelly’s foot and was “really embarrassed” as she states. She landed important film roles early in her career. First, the famed director George Cukor cast her in Travels with My Aunt (1972). Her next big role was for George Lucas in American Graffiti (1973), as Ron Howard’s girlfriend, for which she earned a BAFTA nomination as Best Supporting Actress. That led to Francis Ford Coppola casting her in The Conversation (1974). The three instant-classic films should have propelled her into movie stardom, but her career inexplicably hit a lull. She couldn’t go back to working as a waitress, because she was too well-known. So, she was set up in a writing team with Penny Marshall and the girls were called by Penny’s brother, Garry Marshall, to do a stint as two fast girls on Happy Days (1974). The public received them so warmly that Cindy soon got her own show (along with Penny) and was referred to everywhere as “Shirley Feeney”. She earned a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress in 1978. She left the show in ’82 due to a pregnancy from husband Bill Hudson who had previously been married to actress Goldie Hawn. She gave birth to daughter Emily and later gave birth to a son Zachary in 1986. She has gone on to make a few movies, help produce “The Father Of The Bride” movies with husband Bill, but they later divorced in 2000. She did Jenny Craig commercials and acted on guest spots on the TV show For Your Love (1998) and reunited with Penny Marshall several times on television. In 2015, her memoir Shirley, I Jest! (co-written with Dave Smitherman) was published.
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