What happened to Shirley on Laverne & Shirley? A Shocking Turn of Events

Cindy Williams rose to fame for her portrayal of Shirley Feeney in the popular TV show Laverne & Shirley. However, her career extends far beyond this iconic role, showcasing her versatility as a performer in various projects.

In the fall of 1982, Cindy Williams’ run on the popular show Laverne & Shirley came to an abrupt end, Let us find out, what happened to Shirley on Laverne & Shirley.

What happened to Shirley on Laverne & Shirley?

Cindy Williams bravely chose to leave the sitcom Laverne & Shirley rather than sign a contract that did not address her needs in light of the contract dispute and the lack of understanding from the show’s executives. Her departure was not without controversy, and various rumors surfaced regarding the reasons behind her exit.

Some reports suggested a feud with her co-star Penny Marshall, while others claimed that Williams had made excessive demands during contract negotiations, leading to her departure.

When she left the series after just two episodes into its eighth season. This unexpected departure was equally surprising for both viewers and the behind-the-scenes team, considering the prominence of her character, Shirley Feeney, in the show’s dynamic.

Why did Shirley leave Laverne & Shirley?

The reason behind Cindy Williams’ sudden exit was rooted in a life-changing event – she became pregnant with her daughter, Emily, in March 1982. Despite her pregnancy, Williams was willing to continue working on the show and expected accommodations to be made during her term.

However, the show’s producers had other plans, which were stipulated in her contract. They scheduled her to work through her due date in the fall, without considering the challenges that a pregnant actress would face on set.

Unfair terms of her contract

Williams was disheartened by the terms of her contract, which lacked the necessary provisions for her well-being and pregnancy. She recounted in a 2015 interview with Today that she had hoped the show would creatively work around her pregnancy, but that wasn’t the case. 

Legal Battle and Settlement

Subsequently, Cindy Williams and her then-husband Bill Hudson filed a $20 million lawsuit against the show, citing the unfair treatment she faced during her pregnancy and contract negotiations.

What happened to Shirley on Laverne & Shirley?
What happened to Shirley on Laverne & Shirley?

This incident shed light on the need for better working conditions and support for pregnant actresses in the entertainment industry.

Impact and Industry Changes

Williams’ departure from Laverne & Shirley brought attention to the lack of support for pregnant actresses in the industry.

As time went on, more shows began to take steps to provide better accommodations for pregnant actors, such as building nurseries on sets and providing nannies for the stars. This incident played a significant role in pushing for better standards in the treatment of pregnant performers in Hollywood.

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Shirley on Laverne & Shirley – FAQs

Did Shirley get pregnant with Laverne and Shirley?

When it comes to Shirley, she falls in love very easily in the two episodes that were produced before Williams’ departure and marries Army medic Walter Meany, becoming Shirley Feeney Meany. In Williams’ final scenes, Shirley discovers that she is pregnant.

Did Laverne and Shirley’s actresses get along?

In the nearly ten years that they co-starred on the enduring sitcom, Laverne DeFazio (Marshall) and Shirley Feeney (Williams) grew close and developed a friendship that went beyond the confines of the cameras. On December 30, 2023, Marshall, with whom Williams had a friendship spanning more than 30 years, said his final goodbye.

Why was Shirley not in the last season of Laverne and Shirley?

Ms. Williams made appearances in more than 150 episodes, but she left the eighth and final season early due to a significant on-set conflict with Ms. Marshall.

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