By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 31, 2023 at 2:03 PM

Cindy Williams, the actress who played Shirley Feeney in ABC-TV’s Milwaukee-based sitcom “Laverne & Shirley,” died on Jan 25 and beginning today, the Milwaukee County Historical Society is paying tribute.

MCHS, 910 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., is displaying the name, “Cindy,” on the east side of the its building, facing the Milwaukee River and Pere Marquette Park, beginning at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

The letters are the originals that were used for the City Hall tower sign that was a prominent feature of the opening credits of “Laverne & Shirley.”

Cindy WilliamsX

According to MCHS, the sign was installed City Electrician David McKeith on the south face of the tower in 1906, 11 years after the completion of the building.

The wood letters, which could be used to spell out messages – marquee-style, via a catwalk behind the sign – were 42 inches tall and painted white.

Each letter was illuminated with 15 25-watt bulbs.

The sign’s frame work was dismantled due to maintenance costs and the letters became redundant In 1988. The city gave the letters to Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, which passed them along to MCHS in 2012.

Born in Los Angeles in 1947, Williams appeared in the film “American Graffiti” before being cast as the innocent Shirley – a foil for the more outgoing and worldly Laverne, played by Penny Marshall – in 1975.

The characters debuted on “Happy Days,” also set in Milwaukee, before they were spunoff onto their own show as Brew City beer bottling plant workers. The show aired until 1983.

Marshall passed away in 2018, and MCHS paid tribute to her in the same way.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.