"He was and will always be the toughest man I know. I have never met someone who has over come more adversities than him," his son, Harry Metrano, said.

Art Metrano, the comedian and actor, who starred as Mauser in the Police Academy films, has died. He was 84.

The actor's son, Harry Metrano, announced the news in a post on Instagram on Thursday.

"It's with a heavy heart that I write this caption. Yesterday, I lost my best friend, my mentor, my dad," the younger 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. 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."

Metrano's television career began in the 1960s, and he appeared in shows like Bewitched, on which he played a host of different characters over the seasons. He also appeared on shows including All in the Family, Wonder Woman, The Ted Knight Show, The Incredible Hulk, WKRP in Cincinnati, Fantasy Island, Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, and Joanie Loves Chachi, which saw him playing Chachi's Uncle Rick Mastorelli.

Art Metrano
Art Metrano, 'Police Academy' Actor and comedian, dies at 84
| Credit: Everett Collection

He played Leonardo DaVinci in Mel Brook's 1981 film History of the World: Part I

Metrano was well-known for playing the ambitious Mauser in the Police Academy franchise, who goes from Lieutenant, to Captain, and to Commandant, before being relegated to Lieutenant again. His character was also the butt of plenty of jokes, including when he famously lost his eyebrows after ripping them off with tape.

Art Metrano
Art Metrano in the 'Police Academy' franchise
| Credit: Everett Collection

He's also remembered for his "The Amazing Metrano" "magic" act, which he performed on programs, including The Tonight Show. The comedy in the "magic" came out of its simplicity, ridiculousness, or some faux invisibility.

The actor suffered a career-impacting paralyzing injury, fracturing his neck, after falling off a ladder while renovating his home in 1989, breaking his neck in four places. In 1996, he told UPI how his family, meditation, and his former high school football coach helped when he began rehabilitation.

"He taught me the meaning of stick-to-itiveness, that a winner never quits and a quitter never wins," Metrano said of his former coach, during an interview for his one-man show, "The Amazing Metrano: An Accidental Comedy." "He made me deal with life head-on and made me believe that I could be whatever I wanted to be. 'Sometimes life comes calling, punches you in the face and says, Let me see what you're made of, tough guy.'"

Metrano was born Sept. 22, 1936 in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York City. He earned a football scholarship to junior college in Stockton, Calif., and once worked as an automatic telephone system salesman. 

He published his autobiography, Twice Blessed, which had a forward by Larry King, in 1994.

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