Art Metrano, 'Police Academy' Actor and Comic, Dead at 84

Art Metrano
CBS via Getty Images

Metrano died Wednesday of natural causes at his home in Aventura, Florida.

Art Metrano, the Police Academy actor and beloved comic, has died, Metrano's manager, Sandi Love, confirmed to ET, stating simply, "Yes, Art Metrano has passed." Metrano died Wednesday of natural causes at his home in Aventura, Florida. He was 84.

Metrano's son, Harry, shared the sad news of his father's death on Instagram Thursday, along with a touching tribute that included family photos and a few snaps of the late actor on and off screen.

"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," Harry wrote. "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 👼🏽❤️."

Harry's wife penned a heartfelt post of her own in honor of her late father-in-law, sharing photos of the comic as a father alongside memorable family and movie moments.

"Heaven gained another angel yesterday with the passing of my father in law Art Metrano. 🙏🏼 He was truly a one of a kind person that made everyone around him laugh," she shared. "Not only was he an amazing film & television actor, comedian and author but he overcame adversity after a terrible accident years ago leaving him with a broken neck and injured spinal cord. They thought he may never be able to use his arms & legs again but he continued to prove everyone wrong and lived a life full of amazing memories, accomplishments and time with family. I’m so thankful he met Izzy (she looks so much like him) and that we had so many great years together. My heart hurts but I know he is smiling down on all of us and would want us to continue on and celebrating his life always. RIP ❤️."

Metrano's career began in the '60s but really took off in the '70s thanks to an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, where he wowed the crowd with his performance as The Great Metrano, a magic act spoof.

Metrano performed on famous variety shows like The Dean Martin Show and Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In before making it onto the big screen in 1972's The Heartbreak Kid. Metrano went on to play Leonardo DaVinci in Mel Brooks' History of the World: Part I and also starred as Uncle Rico on Joanie Loves Chachi before his most memorable performance as Ernie Mauser, the boss in the second and third Police Academy films.

In 1989, at the height of his career, Metrano suffered a terrible fall while working on the roof of his Los Angeles home that left him a quadriplegic. But, he managed to make a miraculous recovery and turned the tragedy into a one-man stage show, Metrano’s Accidental Comedy, in which he emerged from his wheelchair to take a few steps on stage.

Metrano continued acting until 2001, appearing on Party of Five, in How Stella Got Her Groove Back and on Chicago Hope.

He is survived by his son, Harry, daughter-in-law, Melissa, and their daughter, Izzy.