Michael McKean aka ‘Lenny’ of Laverne & Shirley pays tribute to Cindy Williams

Bruno Cooke

Michael McKean, the comedy actor who played Leonard “Lenny” Kosnowski (one half of “clueless” duo Lenny and Squiggy) in Laverne & Shirley, is thankfully still alive, and has paid tribute to the late Cindy Williams in a tweet.

His on-screen partner, David Lander – who played Andrew “Squiggy” Squiggman in Laverne & Shirley – passed away in 2020, at the age of 73.

As HITC writes, many of the cast of the show have died – Michael McKean is the only lead actor from Laverne & Shirley to still be alive. That is, depending on where you draw the line around “lead.”

But, it adds, there are several recurring and minor characters who are still with us.

Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams
Stars of the TV series Laverne and Shirley, actresses Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams.

Michael McKean, last lead actor from Laverne & Shirley to still be alive, pays tribute to late Cindy Williams

Michael McKean, who played Leonard “Lenny” Kosnowski in Laverne & Shirley, paid tribute to Cindy Williams via Twitter on Tuesday.

“Backstage, Season 1,” he wrote, setting the scene. “I’m offstage waiting for a cue. The script’s been a tough one, so we’re giving it 110% and the audience is having a great time.”

And then: “Cindy scoots by me to make her entrance,” he writes, “and with a glorious grin, says: ‘Show’s cookin’!’ Amen. Thank you, Cindy.”

A friend of McKean’s noted that a small anecdote “of a passing moment” can be “so evocative. You remembered it all these years and I can see it in my mind.” Replying to a comment from fellow actor Lynda Carter, McKean added that Williams was “pretty awesome.”

Numerous others have been paying their respects, too.

Is Michael ‘Lenny’ McKean really the only lead actor from Laverne & Shirley to still be alive?

Really, this depends on exactly how you define lead actor. It is certainly true that the majority of the show’s leads have passed on.

Penny Marshall, who played Laverne DeFazio, died in 2018 at the age of 75. The causes were reportedly cardiopulmonary failure, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and diabetes mellitus type 1.

Cindy Williams died last week, also age 75, following a brief illness. David Lander, aka Squiggy, who served as a goodwill ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, died age 73 in 2020, of complications from the disease.

Edward Rudolph Mekjian, or Eddie Mekka, who played Carmine Ragusa, died in November 2021. He was 69. And Phil Foster, born Fivel Feldman, died in 1985 at the age of 72. He played Frank DeFazio.

Finally, Betty Garrett, who played landlady Edna Babish, died in 2011 at the ripe old age of 91. She died of an aortic aneurysm.

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Which of Laverne & Shirley’s recurring characters are still alive as of 2023?

As HITC notes, Michael McKean, who played Leonard “Lenny” Kosnowski, is still alive. Others include Leslie Easterbrook, who played Rhonda Lee; Ed Marinaro as Sonny St. Jacques; Carole Ita White as Big Rosie Greenbaum; Vicki Lawrence as Sargeant Alvinia T Plout; Charles Fleischer as Chuck; and Judy Pioli as Terri Buttefuco.

You may consider Leslie Easterbrook’s character one of Laverne & Shirley’s “main” characters, in which case Michael McKean isn’t the only one of the series’ principal characters to still be alive.

Easterbrook played Rhonda Lee, beginning in season 6. Most would categorize her character as recurring, rather than main. Similarly, Ed Marinaro played Sonny St Jacques and Antonio DeFazio in 11 episodes of Laverne & Shirley between 1980 and 1981.

A former NFL running back, he is currently 72 years old. He has been a Hall of Famer since 1991; in 2020, ESPN named him as one of the “150 greatest players in college football’s 150-year history.”