Eddie Mekka, Laverne & Shirley’s ‘The Big Ragoo,’ dead at 69

Eddie MekkaThere is some unfortunate news coming out today in regards to one of the biggest sitcoms of all time. Eddie Mekka, best known as Carmine “The Big Ragoo” Ragusa on Laverne & Shirleyhas died at the age of 69.

The news first first announced on the actor’s Facebook page, with the following message being posted:

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. 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 this fan page. Rest In Peace Eddie.

Mekka was a rare case of an actor getting his breakout role before almost any major credit; he started his work on Laverne & Shirley back in 1976, and proceeded to appear in 150 episodes. He also made appearances on a number of other classic shows, including Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, and Family Matters. He also tipped his toes into the world of daytime dramas, having appeared both on The Young and the Restless as well as The Bold and the Beautiful. His most recent TV credit came courtesy of an episode of Children’s Hospital.

There is no cause of death given for Eddie, but we hope that all TV fans remember him as a comedy tour de force, and someone who contributed mightily to what was at one point one of the biggest franchises in the entire medium. Remember that Laverne & Shirley was a spin-off of Happy Days, and for a good period time these two shows commanded a great deal of attention and helped to define an entire generation. A lot of modern-day characters were influenced greatly by The Big Ragoo, The Fonz, and of course Laverne and Shirley themselves. They brought laughter to millions of people at a time broadcast networks dominated in a way they never could today.

Our thoughts go out to Eddie Mekka’s family, friends, and loved ones during what has to be an incredibly difficult time. (Photo: ABC.)

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