‘The Walking Dead’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan Pays Tribute to Penny Marshall

The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan paid his respects to late actress-filmmaker and “top-notch human being” Penny Marshall when filling in for Ryan Seacrest as guest co-host on Live with Kelly and Ryan.

Host Kelly Ripa remembered Marshall as “one of the giants, giants in comedy.”

“I loved her so much. I got to meet her several times in the course of my life and i just thought she was not just a genius and a brilliant director, but just a kind person and a regular girl from the Bronx,” Ripa said.

“She never let all of her stardom and fame go to her head, and just a lovely human being. I’m very, very sad to read about her passing at the age of 75. Way too young.”

“Way too young,” said Morgan.

“I grew up watching Laverne & Shirley, and she was special and an amazing writer-director and just a — I met her a few times myself — just a top-notch human being.”

The veteran actress died Monday from complications of diabetes.

As an actress, Marshall is best remembered as tomboyish Brooklyn-born Laverne DeFazio in Happy Days spinoff Laverne & Shirley, which earned the star three consecutive Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical.

Marshall directed seminal ‘80s classic Big and 1992’s A League of Their Own, both starring Tom Hanks, and both fondly remembered today; Big was the first film with a woman director to earn over $100 million at the domestic box office.

Marshall’s contemporary, Happy Days star and Solo: A Star Wars Story director Ron Howard, memorialized the “funny & so smart” Marshall on Twitter, writing:

“She made the transition from sitcom star to A List movie director with ease & had a major impact on both mediums. All that & always relaxed, funny & totally unpretentious. I was lucky to have known & worked with her.”

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All in the Family star and The Princess Bride director Rob Reiner, Marshall’s ex-husband, tweeted, “She was born with a great gift. She was born with a funny bone and the instinct of how to use it. I was very lucky to have lived with her and her funnybone. I will miss her.”

“Our family is heartbroken over the passing of Penny Marshall,” Marshall’s family said in a statement. “Penny was a tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together, and being with her family.”