Eddie Mekka was more than “Carmine Ragusa,” the singing-dancing, on-again-off-again tough guy boyfriend of Shotz Beer bottle capper “Shirley Feeney” in the 1970s sitcom Laverne & Shirley.
Before landing the part of “The Big Ragu,” Eddie performed on Broadway in the rock opera The Lieutenant, a role that earned him a Tony Award nomination. Post-Laverne & Shirley, Eddie stayed busy with guest roles in TV comedies and dramas, like 24, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Bold and The Beautiful and many others. He was cast by his former Laverne & Shirley co-star Penny Marshall in a small, but memorable, role as Madonna’s dance partner in A League of Their Own, where he matched the Material Girl step for step. A decade later, he popped up in the critically-acclaimed film Dreamgirls as a club manager.
Eddie toured in various musicals like Grease (where he teamed up with Cindy Williams) and Fiddler on the Roof in the starring role of “Tevye.” He also starred in a run of Hairspray at The Luxor in Las Vegas and in the off-Broadway comedy My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m In Therapy!
From his humble show biz beginnings as a voice instructor in the local opera company in his native Worcester, Massachusetts, Eddie Mekka achieved a career to be proud of. Sadly, he passed away at the young age of 69 on November, 27, 2021. By all accounts, he was a nice guy, too.