‘Laverne & Shirley’ star Carmine Caridi dies at 69

Carmine Caridi, who played the butler to NBC’s wildly popular sitcom Laverne & Shirley, died on Sunday of complications from multiple sclerosis. He was 69.

Caridi joined the cast of the sitcom, which aired from 1976 to 1983, as the arch-nemesis of main character Laverne DeFazio, who played a self-absorbed accountant, after starring in a short-lived CBS series, We Make Jokes, in which he played a superintendent at a retirement home. After that, he was set to appear in the ABC show Balmecase, which was to have reunited him with old Friends star Matthew Perry.

Carmine Caridi passed away at home peacefully Sunday night due to complications of multiple sclerosis, with his loving family by his side. Those who would like to honor his memory may visit his GoFundMe page https://t.co/VBRVB6nXb8 pic.twitter.com/tmdf8e9LF2 — Norman Lear (@TheNormanLear) July 9, 2018

The actor’s character, Carmine Caridi, initially appeared in a sitcom spoofing Laverne & Shirley, and was introduced as the manager of a Bridget Street club where the main character and her friends used to hang out. In a pre-taped cameo in which he first met Shirley McClain, and the series announcer, Caridi advised her to let her inner Joan Crawford come out. “Actually, I’m still working on that,” she replied.

The character became a recurring player throughout the show’s run and his character was often the butt of jokes. During one instance, his partner, played by the show’s creator, Norman Lear, ran into complications with a deep vein thrombosis that resulted in bruises all over Caridi’s face.

While filming a commercial, Caridi lost control of a forklift and hit a swimming pool; a subsequent scene revealed that the series was inspired by his own accident. “If this gets more publicity, they’ll think I was working on a script,” he joked. “Maybe the producers would be interested in getting the doctor’s bill to pay for the damage they’ve done.”

Read the full story at The Hollywood Reporter.


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