Art Metrano, a comedian best known for playing the callous police captain Ernie Mauser in the second and third “Police Academy” films, has died. He was 84 years old.
The Brooklyn-born comic died of natural causes at his home in Aventura, Florida on Wednesday, his son told The Hollywood Reporter.
In addition to his roles in the 1985 and 1986 episodes of the detective comedy series, Metrano also appeared in the 1982 “Happy Days” spin-off “Joanie Loves Chachi” and starred in “All in the Family,” “Bewitched”, “Starsky and Hutch” and “Mod Squad”, among other television shows.
Hailing from Bensonhurst, Metrano began his career studying theater with Stella Adler and John Cassavetes and doing stand-up in the Catskills, according to THR. His big break came when a producer of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” invited him to the show in 1970 after seeing his fake magic number “The Amazing Metrano” on a late-night California variety show. evening.
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Carson was so thrilled with Metrano’s performance on his show that he fell off his chair laughing and started opening doors for the curly-haired Brooklynite.
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“He absolutely loved it and became a huge fan of me,” Metrano said in a 2015 interview. “All of a sudden I was doing all of these shows. It was just amazing.”
Then, at the height of his success in 1989, while working on the roof of his home in Los Angeles, he fell from a ladder and fractured three vertebrae, making him quadriplegic.
“He was at the peak of his career when it happened and then it stopped,” his son told THR. “But he managed to enjoy life and overcome adversity.”
He even eventually turned his trauma into a solo piece called “Metrano’s Accidental Comedy”, which he performed from a motorized wheelchair.
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He is survived by his wife, four children and two grand and great grandchildren.
“Art would like all of his friends and family to continue to smile when they think of him, to laugh and to continue celebrating life,” his family said.