Eddie Mekka, 'Laverne & Shirley' actor, dies at 69
Eddie Mekka, famous for his role as Carmine Ragusa on the sitcom “Laverne & Shirley,” has died. He was 69.
Mekka died at his home in Newhall, California, said his brother, Warren Mekjian. It was unclear how or when he died. Mekjian said that there was no indication that his death was suspicious and that he died Friday or Saturday.
After Mekka's neighbors did not hear from him for a "couple of days," they checked in on him and found his body in his home, Mekjian said, adding that he received the call of his death Saturday morning.
“Eddie was always joking, laughing, loved to sing and dance — he was a good storyteller and very talented,” Mekjian said. “He’s going to be missed.”
Mekka was best known for his role as Carmine "the Big Ragoo" Ragusa, Shirley Feeney's boyfriend, on "Laverne and Shirley." The sitcom aired on ABC from 1976 to 1983.
Co-star Michael McKean remembered Mekka on social media.
"A sad goodbye to Eddie Mekka this morning," McKean tweeted Thursday. "A genuinely good guy and purveyor of cheer whenever things got cheerless. Value these people. RIP, Eddie."
Mekka starred in about 50 TV shows and movies, including in small roles in Bill Condon's 2006 film, "Dreamgirls," and Penny Marshall's 1992 film, "A League of Their Own," according to his IMDb page.
Mekka, of Worcester, Massachusetts, attended the Berklee College of Music and earned a Tony nomination for his leading role in the 1975 Broadway musical "The Lieutenant." Some of his other acting credits include "The Love Boat," "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody."
Mekka is survived by his daughter, Mia; two brothers, Warren and Wayne; and his sister, Lenore.
Wilson Wong is a culture and trends reporter for NBC News Digital.