Art Metrano, actor and comedian once shot down by accident, dies at 84

Art Metrano, a comedian and actor who has appeared in more than 120 television shows and films, including two “Police Academy” films, be...


Art Metrano, a comedian and actor who has appeared in more than 120 television shows and films, including two “Police Academy” films, before a fall from a ladder seriously injured him – an ordeal he suffered. turned into a one-man show that he performed across the country – died Sept. 8 at his home in Aventura, Florida. He was 84 years old.

His son Harry has confirmed his death. The cause was not given.

Mr. Metrono first gained attention with an act of spoof magic. Presented as the Amazing Metrono or with an equally grandiose name, it would go out and perform a series of tricks that weren’t really tricks. He presented each hand to the audience, index finger up, then banged his hands behind his back and presented them again – now two fingers of one hand would be up, neither of the other.

The schtick earned him appearances on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and matched other programs in the early 1970s. By this time he was also building an acting career, having landed small roles in “Mannix”, “Bewitched” and other series in the late 1960s; this series continued into 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 in “Joanie Loves Chachi” and, in 1985, a role in “Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment”, a sequel to the 1984 hit comedy. He played Mauser, a career officer who becomes captain and is the subject of jokes; in a scene, he washes his hair with epoxy resin. He reprized the role in 1986 in “Police Academy 3: Back in Training”.

But Mr. Metrano’s career was cut short one day in September 1989. He and his then wife had put a house up for sale, and he stopped to check before a real estate agent visited. They had done some work on the pool, and he noticed that as a result there was gray cement sprayed all over the back walls and the balcony. He decided to sprinkle the filth.

“I grabbed the ladder that was leaning against the wall and leaned it firmly against the balcony,” he wrote in a memoir, “Twice Blessed” (1994), written with Cynthia Lee and later titled ” Metrano’s Accidental Comedy “.

Something went wrong and Mr. Metrano fell off the ladder, hitting the ground headfirst and breaking his neck. He couldn’t move. He was lying there, imagining the scene if he was still lying there when the real estate agent showed up.

“I looked up and said, ‘Hello, I’m the owner,’” he wrote in his book. “I just broke my neck, but don’t worry. The house looks good, eh? Beautiful gourmet cuisine! ‘”

The humor was characteristic of how he later told the story in print and on stage (a neighbor eventually came to his aid before the realtor arrived), but the injury was serious. He had broken several vertebrae and permanent paralysis was a possibility.

“When you are paralyzed in a hospital bed,” he said during his solo show, “your past becomes your constant companion because your future is a question mark.”

At first he couldn’t move or speak, but eventually he was able to speak again, and walk, sometimes using a crutch. A few years later, he told his story in a one-man show written with Ms. Lee which was performed, under various names, across the country.

When she performed in Manhattan in 1996 at the Union Square Theater under the title “The incredible metrono: An Accidental Comedy, “Vincent Canby, writing in the New York Times, said that Mr. Metrano” gives new meaning to the term stand-up comedy: it is not the comedy that surprises, but the fact that Mr. Metrano is standing.

“’The Amazing Metrono’ is therapeutic and inspiring theater,” Mr. Canby wrote. “Sir. Metrano is now publicly working on his trauma, finding resources within himself that he never knew he possessed.”

Arthur Mesistrano was born September 22, 1936 in Brooklyn and grew up in the Bensonhurst section of that borough. Her father, Aaron, worked in the garment industry and her mother, Rebecca (Russo) Mesistrano, was a housewife.

Art played football at Lafayette High School in Brooklyn and attended College of the Pacific in California on a football scholarship, but left college to return to New York to study acting and work on his stand-up comedy. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career in 1958.

In his book, he recounted trying to break into show business by taking a job selling a phone system that allowed busy people to dial speed dials; this got him on studio lots.

“That was the plan,” he wrote, “sell the product, make money, meet producers and directors, then show them my shiny, bogus 8×10 CV.”

It seemed to work, because in 1960 he was getting small roles. In 1971, he landed a leading role on a CBS sitcom, “The Chicago Teddy Bears,” although the series was short-lived. He had another starring role on a 1986 sitcom, “Tough Cookies,” but that show didn’t last either.

After his accident, he went on to obtain occasional television roles, notably in “LA Law”, “The District” and “Party of Five”.

Mr. Metrono married Rebecca Chute in 1972; they divorced in 2005. His survivors include his wife, Jamie Golder Metrano; two children from his first marriage, Harry and Zoe Bella Metrano; a daughter from a previous relationship, Roxanne Elena Metrano; and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

In 1977, Mr. Metrano reached out to a son he fathered when he was younger but who had been given up for adoption. This son, Howard Bald, now a rabbi, performed a memorial service for him this weekend in Florida.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Art Metrano, actor and comedian once shot down by accident, dies at 84
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