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Eddie Mekka, Carmine on 'Laverne & Shirley,' dead at 69

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Eddie Mekka, Carmine on 'Laverne & Shirley,' dead at 69 Eddie Mekka, who found fame playing Carmine "The Big Ragoo" Ragusa, on the hit series "Laverne & Shirley," died Saturday at his home in Newhall, California, according to his official Facebook account. He was 69. No details on his cause of death were made immediately available. Cindy Williams, who played Shirley, tweeted, "My darling Eddie, A world-class talent who could do it all. I love you dearly. I'll miss you so much. But oh the marvelous memories." The hit series ran on ABC from 1976-1983. A Massachusetts native, Mekka moved to Los Angeles and ended up garnering a Tony nomination for his lead role in "The Lieutenant" on Broadway in 1975. Mekka had roles on "The Love Boat," "Family Matters," "Guiding Light," and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." CNN has reached out to Mekka's representative for comment. The veteran TV and stage actor’s passing was confirmed Thursday via his official Facebook fan page. No cause of death has been revealed at this time. “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,” the announcement reads. “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 played Shirley Feeney’s crooner boyfriend, Carmine, on the “Happy Days” spinoff starring Penny Marshall as Laverne and Cindy Williams as Shirley. The series aired between 1976 and 1983 on ABC, and later in syndication. His character — the loyal sweetheart of Williams’ Shirley — was known to break out into song, often belting out the Tony Bennett-inspired catchphrase, “You know I’d go from rags to riches!” Williams, 74, told The Post her “darling” leading man was “a world class talent who could do it all. I love you dearly. I’ll miss you so much. But oh the marvelous memories.”
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