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Ron Howard shared his memories of Cindy Williams following the actress’ death on Monday. The two shared the screen when they appeared in Happy Days and its spinoff series Laverne & Shirley in the 1970s.
Here is what Ron remembers about Cindy and what she meant to him.
Ron Howard pays tribute to Cindy Williams after death
Cindy Williams passed away on Monday. The actress was 75 and her death shook up Ron Howard, who said he had not seen her for many years, until last year.
“I’m shocked because I hadn’t seen her for years and years,” Howard told PEOPLE when he learned of Cindy’s death. However, he said that he finally reconnected with her at an event in Palm Springs in 2022. “I was just so taken by how her intelligence, energy, and sense of humor…was still in high gear. And so it’s really a shock to imagine that spark is gone.”
The two first met when they co-starred in George Lucas’ 1973 movie American Graffiti. The movie was Lucas’s tribute to the 1960s cruising and rock and roll cultures. Howard was Steve, a high school graduate, and Willams was his girlfriend Laurie.
The two then moved on to work on the same television franchise. Howard enjoyed his breakout role as Richie Cunningham on Happy Days. Williams teamed up with Penny Marshall on the spinoff series Laverne & Shirley. The two shows crossed over and both were extremely popular.
Ron Howard on how Cindy Williams inspired him
Howard remembered that they were both very young when they appeared in American Graffiti. Howard was 24 and Williams was 18. He said that his first-ever kissing scene in Hollywood was with Cindy Williams in that movie. “They weren’t very romantic because she knew that she had this nervous kid on her hands and she had to take charge of the situation,” he remembered.
He said that the two of them shared a brother-sister relationship from that point on. “The Laverne & Shirley spinoff from Happy Days, it was so interesting,” Howard remembered. “We had terrific acting chemistry, but she always treated me like the kid.”
Howard also said that Cindy was not a Hollywood star and she was skeptical of the entire illusions of the movie and TV business. However, in the end, Howard said that Cindy Williams loved her work and the art that she created. In the end, Oscar-winning director, Howard said that he took inspiration from her when it came to his career.
“I think she’d like to be remembered for the variety of roles that she played,” Howard said. “She also thought of herself as a character actress. I think she’d want people to think of her in that way.”
Please, share your memories of Cindy Williams and her roles in the past. Let us know your favorite moments in the comments below.