NEWHALL, CA. (THECOUNT) — Eddie Mekka, who played Carmine, aka “Big Ragu,” on hit TV series, “Laverne & Shirley,” has died. He was 69.
Mekka was found dead at his home in Newhall, CA on Saturday, Mekka’s brother, Warren Mekjian, told media outlets.
According to TMZ, friends and neighbors became concerned when they hadn’t heard from Mekka in a few days and called officials to conduct a welfare check.
Mekjian told TMZ, Mekka had recently been hospitalized for blood clots and could barely walk, there’s no indication his death was suspicious or that there was any foul play involved.
Eddie played Carmine Ragusa — Shirley’s boyfriend on the show from 1976-1983. Carmine would regularly sing on the show. Eddie also had a role on one of “Laverne & Shirley” producer Garry Marshall’s other shows, “Blansky’s Beauties” — and he’d been nominated for a Tony Award for his role in “The Lieutenant” … prior to his TV career taking off.
Mekka also had guest roles on “Fantasy Island” and “The Love Boat” … and later he was on the ABC hit, “Family Matters.”
Mekka has one daughter, Mia, with Yvonne Marie Grace who he married in 1994.
Geo quick facts: Newhall is the southernmost and oldest community in the city of Santa Clarita, California. Prior to the 1987 consolidation of Canyon Country, Saugus, Newhall, and Valencia into the city of Santa Clarita, it was an unincorporated area. It was the first permanent town in the Santa Clarita Valley – Wikipedia.