Art Metrano, who played the role of Officer Ernie Mauser in two Police Academy films is dead at the age of 84.
Metrano died of natural causes on Wednesday September 8 at his home in Aventura, Florida, 32 years after he suffered a serious injury that derailed his career.
Metrano’s son, Harry Metrano shared the news on Instagram on Thursday September 9. He wrote;
It’s with a heavy heart that I write this caption. Yesterday I lost my best friend, my mentor, my dad. He was and will always be the toughest man I know. I have never met someone who has over come more adversities than him.
He’s fought and won so much over the years that I always viewed him as indestructible, but the truth is we don’t live forever on earth, but a person’s spirit can live forever within you. Dad, you will always be a part of me and I will continue to live out your legacy.
When someone came up with the quote, “legends never die,” I’m pretty sure they were talking about you dad. I love you and miss you so much! One day I’ll see you again. Rest in Paradise. You’re now my guardian angel.
A Bensonhurst native, Metrano began his career studying acting with Stella Adler and John Cassavetes and doing stand-up in the Catskills, according to THR. His big break came when a producer for “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” invited him onto the show in 1970 after seeing his mock magic act “The Amazing Metrano” on a late-night California variety show.
In addition to his roles in the 1985 and 1986 installments of the comedic cop series, Metrano also appeared in the 1982 “Happy Days” spinoff “Joanie Loves Chachi” and guest-starred on “All in the Family,” “Bewitched,” “Starsky and Hutch” and “Mod Squad,” among other TV shows.
In 1989, Metrano fell from a ladder while working on his house. The actor broke his neck and seriously injured his spinal cord, leaving him with limited mobility. He later used a wheelchair to perform a one-man show, but retired from show business in 2001.