Eddie Mekka, the man who played Carmine on Laverne & Shirley has passed away at the age of 69. News of his passing came from TMZ who confirmed it with his family. On Facebook, one of his close friends, Pat Benti also shared his thoughts after receiving the news. The "Big Ragu" delighted audiences across the nation during his stint on the sitcom. Warren Mekjian, Mekka's brother, told the outlet that the actor was discovered dead at his home in Newell, California this weekend. After some concern from neighbors, they decided to perform a wellness check. Mekjian also explained that the Laverne & Shirley actor also had some recent hospital visits for blood clots. However, there was no could play involved in his passing.
"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," Benti said on Facebook. "At this time, we do ask that all media inquiries be withheld during his family's time of grief and mourning. We welcome you to share your memories of Eddie and your condolences to his family on his fan page. Rest In Peace Eddie. We had some fun, my BCM Alumni. Thank you for having our pic, as your profile pic."
The star spoke to The Boston Globe years ago about his career and coming up through stage productions before making the switch to TV. It seems as though Mekka was really grateful for getting those theater reps before moving to an entirely different medium.
"I started onstage as a singer and a dancer, so I'm comfortable onstage. It was harder to adjust from stage to TV. I was acting for the back row, and [director] Gary Marshall told me to pull it back to Cleveland," Mekka began. "But I'm glad I was trained in the theater because I think TV makes you lazy. You can always do another take in a film or on TV, while onstage you have to deliver 100 percent all the time. I was lucky to learn a lot about comic timing from Gary, which added a lot to the character of Carmine Ragusa, the "Big Ragoo."
Did you see his performances on Laverne & Shirley? Let us know down in the comments below!