‘Laverne & Shirley’ star Eddie Mekka dies at age 69

Eddie Mekka, an American actor best known for his role in the hit television series Laverne & Shirley, died Saturday at the age of 69, Fox News reported.

Mekka’s death was confirmed Thursday on his official Facebook page. In the announcement, representatives said the actor died “peacefully” at his home in California.

“Eddie passed away peacefully in his Newhall, California, home on Saturday, November 27,” the post reads. “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.”

A TV legend

Mekka’s brother Warren Mekjian also confirmed the news to Fox. The outlet reported: “Warren wasn’t sure the cause of Eddie’s death but confirmed the actor was alone at home in Newhall, California, on November 27 when police found him.”

Mekjian also reportedly told the outlet that the actor had gone to a hospital “six months ago…and was diagnosed with a blood clot.”

Mekka, whose real name was Edward Rudolph Mekjian, enjoyed a long acting career that began with roles at the Worcester County Light Opera in Massachusetts, before he moved to Broadway. It is from there that he made his way into the Happy Days franchise.

The New York Post reports:

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!”

Mekka went on to star in programs including Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, and Family Matters.

Remembering Mekka

Tributes have been pouring in since news broke of his passing. Co-star Cindy Williams, who played Shirley in Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley, called him a “world-class talent who could do it all.”

“Everybody was proud of Eddie’s accomplishments on TV and he was a funny guy,” Mekka’s brother told Fox. “Eddie always loved to dance and sing and make jokes. He always tried to make people laugh and enjoy themselves.”

According to Fox, Mekka is survived by his wife and daughter.

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