Eddie Mekka dead: Laverne & Shirley star dies aged 69

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Eddie Mekka

Eddie Mekka has died aged 69

Actor Eddie Mekka has died aged 69 at his home in California according to reports from friends.

The star, who was best known for playing Carmine Ragusa, also known as The Big Ragoo, on Laverne & Shirley died on November 27.

News of his death was announced by a friend who wrote: ‘R.I.P. Big Ragu: 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.’

He added: ‘Rest In Peace Eddie. We had some fun, my BCM Alumni.’

Mekka, who birth name was Rudolph Edward Mekjian, began his career on Broadway in 1975 in The Lieutenant and was a Tony Award nominee for best actor in a musical after his debut.

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He then moved to Los Angeles where he was cast in Laverne & Shirley, as spin-off of Happy Days, where he played Shirley’s (Cindy Williams) high-school sweetheart and on-off romantic interest.

His character, The Big Ragoo, was a former boxer known for bursting into song in his quest to make it as a singer and dancer, often belting: ‘You know I’d go from rags to riches!’

The series was a hit and Mekka remained on the show until it ended in 1983.

The only surviving Laverne & Shirley cast members are Cindy Williams and Michael McKeon.

The actor’s other credits include Blanksy’s Beauties which aired for 13 episodes, as well as The Love Boat, Family Matters, Fantasy Island and Moonlighting.

Mekka was married to actress DeLee Lively from 1983 to 1992, later marrying Yvonne Marie Grace in 1994, with whom he shares a daughter, Mia.

His cause of death is currently unknown.

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