Eddie Mekka Cause of Death
Eddie Mekka, who played Carmine Ragusa on the hit sitcom Laverne & Shirley, died at 69. His brother Warren Mekjian told Fox News that he was found dead at his home in California on Saturday.
Mekka began his acting career in 1975 in the Broadway rock opera The Lieutenant, where he won a Tony nomination for Best Actor. He later moved to Los Angeles and starred in several TV series.
Laverne & Shirley
Laverne & Shirley, the spin-off of Happy Days that ran on ABC from 1976 to 1983, was one of the most popular TV shows in the 1970s. The show’s two main characters, straitlaced Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams) and more free-spirited Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall), were among television’s first liberated women.
In its prime, Laverne & Shirley was the highest-rated show on TV. Its catchy opening theme, chanting “schlemiel, schlimazel,” was an iconic piece of nostalgia that has stuck with fans decades after the series ended.
Mekka starred as Carmine Ragusa, aka the Big Ragoo, on the sitcom. He was a boxer who owned a dance studio and dreamed of making it big on Broadway.
Mekka appeared in 150 episodes of Laverne & Shirley and received a Tony nomination for his role. He also starred in the 1975 rock opera The Lieutenant. Mekka died Saturday at age 69, according to his official Facebook page. His cause of death is not known.
Born in Worcester, MA and of Armenian ancestry, Mekka was most famous for his roles as Carmine Ragusa on Laverne & Shirley. He also acted in movies like A League of Their Own and Crossing Jordan.
Mekka was a member of the Worcester County Light Opera and he ran a local opera company in Massachusetts before pursuing a career in acting on television. He eventually settled in Los Angeles, where he died on November 27, 2021 at the age of 69.
A few years earlier he had appeared on the sitcom Laverne & Shirley as Carmine Ragusa, and was nominated for a Tony Award for that role. He went on to a successful career in Hollywood as a character actor. He had a small role in the film A League of Their Own with Tom Hanks and Madonna. He would also appear on the series Dreamgirls and The Last Stand. Mekka is buried in Riverside Cemetery in California.
The actor who played Carmine ‘The Big Ragu’ Ragusa on Laverne & Shirley, Eddie Mekka, has died at the age of 69. He passed away peacefully at his home in Newhall, California, according to an official Facebook account.
He was a prolific TV actor, appearing in many popular shows such as The Love Boat, Fantasy Island and Family Matters. He was also a regular fixture on Laverne & Shirley from 1976-1983.
Blansky’s Beauties was a stop-gap series made quickly to fill the hole in Nancy Walker’s schedule. The premise was to throw together all sorts of stuff that could attract attention, whether it made sense or not.
It included motorcycle stunts, dances, catchphrases, wise-ass kids and bikini scenes. It was designed to appeal to a viewing audience that would not care about the plot of the show but would be more interested in the eye-catching elements.
The show was put together by then-ABC president Fred Silverman and producer Garry Marshall, who wanted to have a sitcom with a major star that they could cultivate. It was not a success, but it did bring Mekka national recognition and an on-and-off romance with Cindy Williams’ character.
The beloved Happy Days star Eddie Mekka has died at age 69, his brother Warren Mekjian told Fox News. He was found dead at his Newhall, CA home on November 27.
After Happy Days, Mekka starred in the sitcom Blanksy’s Beauties and then he moved to New York to appear in Hair on Broadway. He also had roles in several other TV shows like Fantasy Island, 24 and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
He was married twice, first to actress DeLee Lively from 1983 to 1992 and then he tied the knot with Yvonne Marie Grace in 1994. They had one daughter together named Mia.
She was best known for her role as Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days and then on the spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi with Scott Baio. She had a few acting credits after her time on Happy Days but she spent her later years taking care of her mother-in-law in a trailer park in Corydon, Indiana.
Watch out for the rest of Time fores for more interesting and useful articles.