Actor Art Metrano, who was the butt of jokes as the pompous Officer Ernie Mauser in two “Police Academy” movies, died Wednesday. He was 84.
Metrano died at his Aventura, Florida, home of natural causes, his son told the Miami Herald.
Harry Metrano also revealed the news of his father’s death in an Instagram post on Thursday, sharing a series of photos of him and his father.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I write this caption. Yesterday I lost my best friend, my mentor, my dad,” Harry Metrano wrote. “He was and will always be the toughest man I know. I have never met someone who has overcome more adversities than him.”
On Sept. 17, 1989, Art Metrano fell off a ladder while working on the roof of his Los Angeles home, landing on his head, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He fractured his first, second and seventh vertebrae, which rendered him a quadriplegic.
However, the actor recovered and created a one-man stage show, “Metrano’s Accidental Comedy,” in which he emerged from a wheelchair to take a few steps, the website reported.
“That is the focal talking point, his resilience,” Harry Metrano told the Herald. “He had been through so much besides just breaking his neck. He overcame adversity. As he got older he had multiple surgeries on his back and his neck and every single time he would bounce back almost like he was indestructible. But we’re not all indestructible and his spirit will live on.”
Art Metrano retired his act in 2001, People reported.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, on Sept. 22, 1936, Harpo Mesistrano, Art Metrano had roles in several television series during the late 1960s, including “Mannix” and “Then Came Bronson,” People reported. He also made appearances on “Bewitched,” “Kolchak: The Night Stalker,” “Starsky and Hutch” and “The Incredible Hulk,” according to IMDb.com.
In 1970 Art Metrano had a national breakthrough on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” the Herald reported.
In his “The Amazing Metrano” role, he made his fingers jump from hand to hand while humming a 1930s show tune, which left Carson convulsing in laughter.
However, he was best known for his portrayal of Mauser in the 1985 movie, “Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment,” and in 1986′s “Police Academy 3: Back in Training.”
His character famously used epoxy as shampoo by mistake in the shower during a scene in “Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment.”
Metrano also had appearances in films such as “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”, “They Only Kill Their Masters” and “The Heartbreak Kid.” He also had a recurring role as Rico Mastorelli, the uncle of Chachi (Scott Baio) in the 1982-1983 “Happy Days” spinoff, “Joanie Loves Chachi.”
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