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- American actor
Eddie Mekka, known for his role as Carmine Ragusa on the ABC sitcom "Laverne & Shirley," has died. He was 69.
The actor's Facebook fan page also announced that Mekka "passed away peacefully" Saturday at his home in Newhall, California.
"Laverne & Shirley" was a spin-off of the ABC 1970s sitcom "Happy Days," which Mekka briefly appeared in as his "Laverne & Shirley" character Carmine.
In the spin-off, Mekka's character, nicknamed "The Big Ragoo," took on a lead role as Shirley's (Cindy Williams) high school sweetheart and hot-and-cold romantic interest.
Emmy-winning "Laverne & Shirley" ran for eight seasons from 1976 to 1983.
The actor also took on roles on the stage, and he was nominated for a Tony Award for his lead role in the rock opera musical "The Lieutenant."
The actor added more TV show and movie appearances throughout his career. He earned acting credits in series like "Family Matters," "The Jamie Foxx Show" and 1997's "Top of the World," according to IMDb.
In 2006, Mekka was cast as a club owner in the Oscar-winning movie musical "Dreamgirls," starring Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson and Beyoncé.
Some of the actor's most recent movie appearances included "Diary of a Lunatic," and "Silver Twins" in 2017 as well as "Hail Mary!" in 2018.
"Laverne & Shirley" co-star Micheal McKean gave Mekka "a sad goodbye" on Twitter Thursday.
"A genuinely good guy and purveyor of cheer whenever things got cheerless. Value these people. RIP, Eddie," McKean wrote.
A sad goodbye to Eddie Mekka this morning. A genuinely good guy and purveyor of cheer whenever things got cheerless. Value these people. RIP, Eddie.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) December 2, 2021
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Eddie Mekka, 'Laverne & Shirley' actor, dies at 69: reports