Ron Howard mourns the passing of “American Graffiti” co-star and dear friend Cindy Williams

A statement from Cindy Williams’ family announced that the actress passed away last week (on Wednesday, January 25) following a brief illness.

She was 75 years old when she passed away. She was best remembered for her role as the amiable Shirley Feeney on the sitcom Laverne & Shirley.

“The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed,” a statement from her children read.

“Knowing and loving her has been our joy and privilege. She was one of a kind, beautiful, generous and possessed a brilliant sense of humor and a glittering spirit that everyone loved.”

Perhaps not unexpectedly, celebrities and Williams’ former coworkers are now expressing their sorrow at her passing on social media. Among them is the well-known Ron Howard, who co-starred with her in the movie American Graffiti.

Overall, the sitcom received six Golden Globe nominations and did extremely well in the ratings. One of those was the best actress in a comedy category, won by Williams herself.

Additionally, the actress starred opposite Ron Howard in the iconic movies The Conversation (1974), Travels with My Aunt (1972), and, most notably, American Graffiti (1973).

In fact, Howard described himself as Williams’ close friend and how her loss had come as a surprise.

“It was a shocker to hear of Cindy’s passing. I remember her life spark and her energy,” Howard said.

“I saw her last year in Palm Springs at an event and still saw that sparkle in her eyes. It’s so hard to imagine that she’s gone.”

The Andy Griffith Show star went on to recall how Williams had taught him to kiss for his role in American Graffiti – the pair featured as one another’s love interests in Laverne and Shirley, too.

Howard said: “For a period of about four or five years, we were cast together in various projects, including The Migrants — a dramatic TV movie — in 1974, based on a play by Tennessee Williams. We had a certain chemistry together. When we did American Graffiti, she was 24 and I was 18, but we played boyfriend and girlfriend.”

He finished: “Cindy wanted to be remembered for her range of characters that she created — different tones and different styles. She admired Carol Burnett for these qualities. Cindy had so much talent and she settled for none of the ‘Hollywood traffic’ — she just did her work.”

Another Hollywood star, Henry Winkler, shared his thoughts on Williams’s passing, describing her with kind words.

Winkler said: “Cindy has been my friend and professional colleague since I met her on the set of Happy Days in 1975. Not once have I ever been in her presence when she wasn’t gracious, thoughtful and kind.

“Cindy’s talent was limitless. There was not a genre she could not conquer. I am so glad I knew her.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones of Cindy Williams at this immeasurably difficult time.

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