‘Laverne & Shirley’ Star Eddie Mekka Dies at 69

    Eddie Mekka, best known for his role as Carmine Ragusa on the classic ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley, has died. He was 69.

    According to a social media post from one of his friends, the actor passed away at his home in Newhall, California, on November 27. No cause of death was given.

    “It is with deep regret that we share with you the passing of our beloved Eddie Mekka. Eddie passed away peacefully in his Newhall, California home on Saturday, November 27, 2021. He was 69 years old,” reads the Facebook post. “Rest In Peace Eddie. We had some fun, my BCM Alumni. Thank you for having our pic, as your profile pic.”

    Born on June 14, 1952, in Worcester, Massachusetts, Mekka had his first breakout performance in the Broadway musical The Lieutenant, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award. Following his Broadway success, Mekka moved to Los Angeles and, in 1976, landed the role of Carmine ‘The Big Ragoo’ Ragusa in Happy Days spin-off Laverne & Shirley, in which he starred until the series was canceled in 1983.

    Mekka also featured in Blansky’s Beauties, another Garry Marshall sitcom that aired for 13 episodes in 1977. His other television credits include The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Moonlighting, Family Matters, and Guiding Light. In 2002, he appeared as himself in Entertainment Weekly‘s Laverne & Shirley: Together Again reunion special.

    Eddie Mekka with Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall in 'Laverne & Shirley'

    Eddie Mekka with Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall in ‘Laverne & Shirley’ / Everett Collection

    Eddie Mekka with Cindy Williams

    Eddie Mekka with Cindy Williams in 2016 / Eddie Mekka Facebook fanpage

    In more recent years, Mekka appeared in episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, ER, and The Young and the Restless. He also returned to off-Broadway in 2008 to star in the comedy My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m In Therapy!.

    With Mekka’s passing, Cindy Williams and Michael McKean are now the only surviving main cast members from Laverne & Shirley.

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