'Police Academy' 's Art Metrano Dead 32 Years After Career-Ending Accident: 'Rest in Paradise'

Art Metrano's son, Harry Metrano, revealed the news on Instagram on Thursday, writing, "One day I'll see you again. You're now my guardian angel"

Art Metrano
Art Metrano . Photo: cbs

Art Metrano, who portrayed Officer Ernie Mauser in two Police Academy films, has died. He was 84.

The actor, who suffered a serious injury that derailed his career in 1989, died of natural causes on Wednesday at his home in Aventura, Florida, according to Deadline.

Metrano's son, Harry Metrano, revealed the news on Instagram on Thursday by 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. He was and will always be the toughest man I know," Harry wrote in the caption. "I have never met someone who has over come more adversities than him."

He added, "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 👼🏽❤️."

Art Metrano
Art Metrano in Starsky and Hutch. IMDB

Harry's wife, Melissa, also shared the news on Instagram, writing a sweet tribute to her father-in-law.

"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," Melissa wrote. "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," she added. "RIP ❤️."

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Metrano starred in TV shows in the late 1960s such as Mannix and Then Came Bronson. The actor was perhaps best known as the ruthless Lt. Mauser in 1985's Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment and in 1986's Police Academy 3: Back in Training.

Metrano also had appearances in films such as They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, They Only Kill Their Masters, The Heartbreak Kid and the TV shows Bewitched, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Starsky and Hutch and The Incredible Hulk. He also played the recurring role of Chachi's Uncle Rico and Joanie Loves Chachi.

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.

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