The Big Ragu Was Discovered Dead In His Home At Age 69
Eddie Mekka who played the "Big Ragu" on the television show "Laverne & Shirley" was found dead last weekend in his home in California.
Growing up as a kid in Michigan, there were two shows that were big favorites at my house, and they were "Happy Days" and "Laverne & Shirley."
Happy Days was a big hit at my house for my sister and me because it gave us a look into how our parents grew up since the show was based in the 50s and 60s. Old cars, motorcycles, sock hops, live bands, and of course the diner where the show was centralized.
Not long after the success of Happy Days, there was a spinoff that became "Laverne & Shirley." The show was based on two women in Milwaukee who worked at a beer factory and shared an apartment together.
My favorite characters were Lenny and Squiggy. The two would just barge in on Laverne & Shirley and always try to convince them into going out with them. Most of the time Lenny & Squiggy would get thrown out from the girl's apartment and always made for a funny scene in each episode.
Laverne & Shirley never dated Lenny and Squiggy but Shirley dated a character by the name of Carmine Ragusa AKA "The Big Ragu." Carmine was played by actor Eddie Mekka.
On the show, he played a boxer whose dream was to become a singer and a dancer. He often wore a jacket that had "The Big Ragu" written on the back of it.
Mekka appeared in 150 episodes of Lavern & Shirley but also appeared in several episodes of Happy Days. He also appeared on "The Love Boat," Fantasy Island" and "Family Matters."
It wasn't just TV shows that Mekka was in, but also movies like "A League of Their Own" and Dreamgirls." His final role was the 2018 football comedy "Hail Mary!"
MLive reported Meakka had been battling blood clots and then suddenly had been out of contact with family for several days. He was found dead Saturday in his California home.
Actor Michael McKean who played the character of Squiggy on "Laverne & Shirley" said in a tweet, "A genuinely good guy and purveyor of cheer whenever things got cheerless. Value these people. RIP, Eddie."