Art Metrano, a comedian and actor who appeared in more than 120 television shows and films, including the “Police Academy” movies, before a fall from a ladder left him severely injured, an ordeal he turned into a one-man show he performed all over the country, died on Sept. 8 at his home in Aventura, Florida. He was 84.
His son Harry confirmed his death. The cause was not given.
Metrano first gained attention with a spoof magic act. Introduced as the Amazing Metrano or with some equally grandiose appellation, he would come out and perform a series of tricks that weren’t really tricks. He’d present each hand to the audience, index finger raised, then bang his hands together behind his back and present them again — now, two fingers on one hand would be raised, none on the other.
The shtick got him appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and assorted other programs in the early 1970s. By then he was also building an acting career, having landed small parts on “Mannix,” “Bewitched” and other series in the late ’60s; that run continued in the ’70s with “Barney Miller,” “Movin’ On,” “Starsky and Hutch” and dozens of other shows.
The 1980s brought more acting work, including a recurring role on “Joanie Loves Chachi” and, in 1985, a part in “Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment,” a follow-up to the hit 1984 comedy. He played Mauser, a career-driven officer who becomes a captain and is the butt of jokes; in one scene, he shampoos his hair with epoxy resin. He reprised the role in 1986 in “Police Academy 3: Back in Training.”