Penny Marshall’s acting and directing career was decorated with legendary roles and memorable projects.
Marshall, who died Monday at the age of 75, got her acting start next to one of Corpus Christi’s most iconic former citizens, the late Farrah Fawcett, when both were aspiring actresses trying to make their way in Hollywood.
Marshall’s first television appearance was in a Head & Shoulders beautifying shampoo commercial filmed in 1972. She was hired for the role of a woman with basic brown hair playing opposite a then-unknown Fawcett and her glamorous blonde locks.
It’s been reported in many stories over the years that Fawcett has some empathy for Marshall before the commercial started filming. Fawcett reportedly crossed out the word “homely” for Marshall’s on-set placard and replaced it with a card that read “plain” to make Marshall feel better about her role as her roommate Lucy.
“I did my first commercial with Farrah when she first came out here (in Los Angeles),” Marshall told Entertainment Tonight in an interview several years ago in a commercial available on the You Tube channel Commercial Jukebox. “Guess who had the dandruff.”
The two remained friends throughout their lives. Fawcett passed away in 2009.
“I knew her before she was ‘Farrah,’ and I was anybody, ” Marshall said before her death.
Marshall got her start with a role as “Myrna Turner,” the secretary of Oscar Madison from 1972-74 on “The Odd Couple” that was developed by her brother, Garry Marshall. Her brother also served as the creator in her most memorable recurring acting role in “Laverne & Shirley” from 1976-83.
It led Penny Marshall to say that her unconventional appearance in Hollywood led her to having issues over the years.
“I just cannot bring myself to accept that the homely person on the screen is me,” Marshall told TV Guide in 1976. “I grew up believing an actress is supposed to be beautiful. After I saw myself in a Love, American Style segment, I cried for three days. I’ve had braces put on my teeth twice, but they did no good.”
Marshall’s fans certainly didn’t feel that way. And Fawcett tried to make sure she didn’t share any insecurities when they filmed their commercial together.
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