‘Laverne & Shirley’ was a ‘point of pride’ for Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE — A hit TV sitcom that showcased Milwaukee in the late 70s and early 80s was back in the headlines this week, after one of the main actresses passed away.

What You Need To Know

  • The hit TV sitcom “Laverne & Shirley” ran from 1976 to 1983
  • It was a spin-off of “Happy Days” 
  • Actress Cindy Williams, who played Shirley Feeney, died Wednesday at the age of 75
  • A writer and historian called the Milwaukee ties in the show a “point of pride” 

Cindy Williams, who played Shirley Feeney in “Laverne & Shirley,” was 75-years-old when she died Wednesday. Her family confirmed she died in Los Angeles after a brief illness. The family made the announcement on Monday.

“Laverne & Shirley” ran from 1976 to 1983 and was set in Milwaukee. 

We talked to Milwaukee writer and historian John Gurda about the impact the show had on the city.

He noted “Laverne & Shirley” was more about the characters than it was Milwaukee, but some scene setters, like city hall in the opening credits, gave a nod to the city.  

“A lot of cities, they never got to have a show and certainly, even though the Milwaukee content is quite limited, it’s a point of pride. The most popular show on TV for a time was set here,” noted Gurda.

Gurda said one of the producers was raised in Milwaukee.

“He kind of invoked his own childhood in producing first ‘Happy Days’ and then ‘Laverne & Shirley’ as a spin-off. It’s our good fortune that he happened to be from here,” said Gurda.

Watch the full interview with John Gurda above.