Eddie Mekka a Star in ‘Laverne and Shirley’, is Dead at 69

November 19, 2022
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Eddie Mekka, an actor most well-known for his role in “Laverne & Shirley”, died Nov. 27 at his Santa Clarita home. He was 69.

Laverne and shirley: On Mr. Mekka’s Facebook page, he announced his death. There was no cause of death

laverne and shirley

Mr. Mekka was a regular cast member of “Laverne & Shirley”, a sitcom that featured two single young women who worked at a Milwaukee brewery in 1950s. His character, the Big Ragoo (or the Sweetheart) was the high school sweetheart of Shirley (Cindy Williams).

Carmine was able to sing “You know, I’d go rags to rich” in Tony Bennett fashion if anyone was unhappy with him. Mr. Mekka was able to showcase his singing, tap dancing and gymnastic skills on talent-show episodes and other episodes. Carmine achieved success in the last episode of the series: He auditioned for Broadway’s musical “Hair” and was offered the job.

Mr. Mekka was the second veteran from “Laverne & Shirley”, and he died in less than a month. David L. Lander, who was Squiggy’s actor, passed away in December 2020.

He began and ended his real life career on the stage. He even received a Tony Award nomination. For his portrayal of Lt. William L. Calley Jr. who committed the My Lai massacres of civilians during Vietnam War (1975), he was nominated as best actor in musical.

Clive Barnes, a reviewer for The New York Times, stated that Mr. Mekka showed “an honesty, openness, and charm that proves very appealing” in his portrayal as “a puzzled child with a gun who’s been told to die.” The musical received four Tony nominations despite being difficult.

In addition to more than 50 television and film roles, he also played small parts in “A League of Their Own”, where he jitterbugged at Madonna in a bar, and in “Dreamgirls,” as a manager of a nightclub. He made his last screen appearance in 2018’s “Hail Mary!” (originally called “Sushi Tushi”), which is a comedy about a sumo wrestling team.

Edward Rudolph Mekjian was a Worcester, Mass. native to Vahe Vaughn Mekjian (an Armenian-born factory worker who fought in World War II) and Mariam (Apkarian) Mekjian (dry-cleaning presser).

He was a performer with the Worcester County Light Opera, and he attended the Boston Conservatory for one year before deciding to drop out to get a regular job in the dinner theater.

In 1983, he married DeLee Lively, an actress; they split in 1992 and he married Yvonne Marie Grace 2 years later. His survivors include Mia Mekjian and Warren Mekjian, a daughter.

In 2008, Mr. Mekka was back on the New York Stage, appearing in the Off Broadway comedy “My Mother’s Italian and My Father’s Jewish, I’m in Therapy”.

He continued to perform in regional theater. He played Harold Hill in “The Music Man”, Pseudolos and Seymour in the “Little Shop of Horrors”, and Tevye on “Fiddler on the Roof,” which was his favorite role. He said that he had played the role more than 20 times.

According to him, he had a unique interpretation of the character. He told The Boston Globe that he played him as an older, grumpier, and slower Jackie Mason.

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