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The Only Major Actors Still Alive From Laverne And Shirley

It's an obvious truth that "Laverne and Shirley" ruled the airwaves from the mid-1970s through the early 1980s. This retro sitcom — a spin-off of "Happy Days" — surpassed its sire to become a pop culture landmark for its first four seasons. In it, working-class brewery bottle cappers Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams) and Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall) live in a basement apartment. Best friends since they were kicked out of the Brownies together, cynical Laverne and big dreamer Shirley are on the lookout for love, adventure, big bucks, and the answer to their thus-unfulfilled dreams.  

Along for the ride are Andrew "Squiggy" Squiggman (David L. Lander) and Lenny Kosnowski (Michael McKean), two greasers with dreams of their own who have been annoying the girls since elementary school; Shirley's on-again-off-again boxer boyfriend, Carmine (Eddie Mekka); and Laverne's father, Frank (Phil Foster), and his eventual wife, the girls' landlady, Edna Babish (Betty Garrett). 

In Season 6, after a ratings slowdown precipitated by a timeslot change resulted in the girls moving to California, they met even more strange new folks, like model-dancer-actress Rhonda Lee (Leslie Easterbrook) and Sonny St. Jacques (Ed Marinaro), a lunkish stuntman.  

Unfortunately, much time has passed since the sitcom was everyone's favorite Tuesday night fling. Many of the actors who led "Laverne & Shirley" to ratings glory have passed away. But some of the show's main actors continue to thrive, and even maintain active acting careers, to this very day.

Michael McKean

The last living member of the show's original cast, Michael McKean brought a special sparkle to the eye of the dimwitted but sweet-natured Lenny Kosnowski. A character he created with co-star and longtime friend David L. Lander in college, Lenny is kind and soft compared to Squiggy's tougher, harder edginess. But together, their bite isn't nearly as bad as their bark.

A savvy musician before he ended up on "Laverne & Shirley," McKean launched a film career during the dying days of the sitcom. "This is Spinal Tap" became a cult classic that has passed firmly into legend over the decades. The actor has since made a name for himself as a character performer in movies like "Clue," "Earth Girls Are Easy," and Christopher Guest's mockumentary films. He's also popped up in shows such as "The Diplomat" and "Better Call Saul," for which he received an Emmy nomination. 

At 76, he holds frequent court on his X, formerly known as Twitter, account — and shows no sign of slowing down as an actor. He's currently in the middle of filming a sequel to "This is Spinal Tap," tentatively titled "Spinal Tap II."

Leslie Easterbrook

Leslie Easterbrook joined the cast of "Laverne & Shirley" in Season 6, when the series moved from Milwaukee to Burbank, California. Portraying the statuesque, talented, and deeply egotistical blonde starlet Rhonda Lee, Easterbrook became a mainstay on the show from its sixth season all the way through its eighth and final outing.

Immediately after "Laverne & Shirley" ended, Easterbrook's career took flight and she attained worldwide stardom as Debbie Callahan in the "Police Academy" film series. Easterbrook also appeared in "Private Resort" and became the second Mama Firefly for Rob Zombie, appearing in "The Devil's Rejects." She also appeared in Zombie's reboot of "Halloween" as Patty. On television, she was featured in 23 episodes of the daytime drama "Ryan's Hope." She continues to maintain an active acting career, with her latest appearance being in 2022's "Give Til It Hurts," and two additional projects in varying stages of production.

Ed Marinaro

Ed Marinaro stepped off the gridiron and into the floodlights for "Laverne & Shirley." Joining the cast during Season 6 and intending to become Laverne DeFazio's (Penny Marshall) regular boyfriend, Ed Marinaro portrays the kind-hearted and beefy Sonny St. Jacques for the majority of Season 6. 11 episodes into the season, though, he switched networks and roles.

Marinaro made his name as an actor as "Hill Street Blues" stalwart Office Joe Coffey. After he left the drama to pursue other roles in 1986, he landed a major recurring part in the drama "Sisters." He was also one of many Joey Buttafucos in the Amy Fisher TV movie bonanza of 1992, playing the role opposite Noelle Parker in "Amy Fisher: My Story." More recently, he was Coach Marty Daniels in "Blue Mountain State." His last major role was in 2021's "A Unicorn for Christmas," but he continues to make public appearances and also frequently updates his Twitter account.

Carole Ita White

While she wasn't a full-fledged cast member, Carole Ita White's Rosie Greenbaum was such a regular presence on the set of "Laverne & Shirley" that it felt as if she had always been there. Appearing in 13 episodes of the series, White told Hollywood Obsessed with Tony Miros that she had been signed to a 7-year contract and had her option dropped because ABC was concerned that her burgeoning popularity might encourage her to ask for more cash. The next thought was to spin Rosie off into her own sitcom, but it didn't work out – that was eventually retooled into the show "Angie."

White moved on, appearing in movies such as "Chained Heat" and "The Naked Cage." She's built up a solid resume of guest starring roles and minor parts in big-budget blockbusters and recurred in the digital series "Child of the '70s." She's still acting to this day and can be seen in independent features and digital series, as well as on the occasional podcast and at various conventions.