‘Laverne & Shirley’ Star Cindy Williams Revealed What She Wanted to Do Before Acting

by Allison Hambrick

Laverne & Shirley actress Cindy Williams opened up about what she wanted to do for a living before settling on acting. Though it may be hard to imagine the sitcom icon doing anything other than comedy, she originally wanted to be in the medical profession. However, Williams said she doesn’t have any regrets.

“I wasn’t meant to be a nurse,” Williams remarked in an interview. “I was meant to do exactly what I did. That was my service. That is what God sent me here to do. That’s why he didn’t give me an academic brain, because if He did, I would have been a nurse.”

Williams explained that in her faith, she felt her calling was, in fact, comedy. Her aptitude for medicine was simply not where it needed to be for her to become a nurse.

“There are no Ifs, Ands, or Buts about it,” Williams said. “I would have gone into the medical profession, but he made me not too smart in biology, and also faint at the sight of blood.  I honestly believe that God steered me in the direction of comedy to make people laugh.”

Williams did, however, find a profession where her talents helped others. After all, laughter is the best medicine.

Laverne & Shirley Was Not Originally a Spinoff

Additionally, Williams discussed how Laverne & Shirley developed into its own series. In a 1975 episode of Happy Days called “A Date with Fonzie,” fans met Laverne and Shirley when the girls double date Fonzie and Richie. Their characters were well-received, so the network pushed series creator Garry Marshall to make a spinoff.

“Two weeks later we got a call from Garry’s office and they said that ABC had seen the episode and loved it, and they wanted to ‘spin the characters off,’” explained Williams. “At that time Penny and I had no idea what that meant and it had to be explained to us that it meant we were getting our own show.”

As a result of that overnight success, Laverne & Shirley debuted the following year. It ran for eight seasons from 1976 to 1983. Marshall and Williams headlined the show, with Michael McKean, Eddie Mekka, and David Lander rounding out the supporting cast. The cast of Happy Days also made occasional appearances. In fact, Laverne and Shirley even teamed up with the Happy Days crew to introduce Mork, played by Robin Williams, before the premiere of Mork & Mindy.

“Before we knew it, we were doing other episodes on Happy Days to introduce our characters, and then we had the Happy Days characters have their storylines come over to Laverne & Shirley. That is how it all came about. It happened so fast. Penny and I had no time to say, ‘Wow, this is really happening!’ We never really took it seriously,” said Williams.