Ron Howard has made public statements regarding the tragic death of his former co-star Cindy Williams. In the 1973 film “American Graffiti,” Howard and Williams portrayed Steve Bolander and Laurie Henderson, respectively.

In addition, before taking on the role in “Laverne & Shirley,” Williams played Shirley Feeney in the popular Howard television series “Happy Days.” Howard also played Richie Cunningham in two “Laverne & Shirley” episodes.

According to the Associated Press, Williams died on January 31 at 75 after a brief illness. This information was made public by Williams’ children, Zak and Emily Hudson, who stated a spokesman lamenting the tragic loss.

“The loss of our sweet, funny mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us overwhelming pain that cannot be adequately described,” the family added. “It has been our joy and honor to get to know and love her. She was one-of-a-kind, lovely, and generous, with a sparkling energy everyone adored. She had a great sense of humor as well.”

Ron Howard is speaking out in the aftermath of Cindy Williams’ death. On January 30, Howard spoke about his shock at Williams’ death. He hadn’t seen her in a while; the last time he saw her was in 2022. “I’m astonished because I haven’t seen her in years and years,” Howard said of Williams.

“We met last year at a gathering in Palm Springs, California, and I was immediately impressed by her knowledge, vigor, and sense of humor. It’s a shock to realize that spark is no longer there.” Because Howard was only 18 and Williams was 24 when they collaborated on “American Graffiti,” Williams “always had almost a big sister energy” around him, Howard added.

Howard also spoke with Access Hollywood on January 31 and praised Williams’ brilliance and perseverance. Cindy was “just whip brilliant,” according to Howard. “She also had a fantastic work ethic and a wonderful sense of humor.”

“She’d want people to remember Shirley and that show, but she’d also want them to take a moment to notice all the other kinds of characters that she so expertly developed,” Howard, who played the lead in Laverne & Shirley, said. “I believe she would prefer to be remembered in a humorous light.”