Eddie Mekka, the actor who performed Carmine Ragusa, the highschool sweetheart of Cindy Williams’ Shirley Feeney on the hit ’70s sitcom Laverne & Shirley, died Saturday, Nov. 27, at his dwelling in Newhall, California. He was 69.
His loss of life was introduced on Fb by longtime buddy Pat Benti, who didn’t disclose a reason for loss of life however famous that Mekka “handed away peacefully.”
Mekka, born Edward Rudolph Mekjian in Worcester, Massachusetts, had attended the Berklee Faculty of Music and had earned a Tony Award nomination for his main function within the 1975 Broadway musical The Lieutenant when he moved to Los Angeles and shortly landed roles on two Garry Marshall-created sitcoms: Blansky’s Beauties and Laverne & Shirley.
Blansky’s Beauties, the 1977 sequence starring Nancy Walker, was not a hit, however Mekka’s supporting function on Laverne & Shirley from 1976 to 1983 introduced him nationwide recognition and his signature function. Because the kind-hearted Carmine – recognized affectionally by as The Large Ragoo – Mekka was a part of the sitcom’s main romantic relationship. His on and off relationship with Shirley, and his loyal friendship with each Williams’ character and Penny Marshall’s Laverne, offered the sequence with one in all its most vital supporting gamers.
Mekka’s Carmine was a part-time boxer with desires of changing into a dancer and singer – ambitions that offered an showcase for Mekka’s musical theater skills and background. Within the ultimate episode of the longrunning sequence, Carmine lands a job within the Broadway musical Hair.
Although his Laverne & Shirley character would show to be Mekka’s most recognizable function, the actor additionally appeared on such ’70s and ’80s sequence as Moonlighting, Household Issues and The Love Boat, and had visitor roles on exhibits nicely into the twenty first Century, together with Youngsters’s Hospital, The Younger & The Stressed and It’s All the time Sunny in Philadelphia.
Data on survivors was not instantly obtainable.