Ronald Joseph Cicenia (December 11, 1935 – January 16, 2007), known as Ron Carey, was an American film and television actor. The 5-foot-4-inch (1.63 m) actor was best known for playing ambitious NYPD Police Officer Carl Levitt on TV’s Barney Miller, in which he was almost always surrounded by male actors (and sometimes female guest stars) who stood at least 8 inches (20 cm) taller. The series’ stars (Hal Linden, Max Gail, Abe Vigoda, Ron Glass, Steve Landesberg) all stood 6 feet (1.83 m) or more. Carey appeared in the recurring role for the last six of the eight seasons of Barney Miller’s run. He first appeared on the show as a criminal, Angelo Molinari (aka The Mole), in Season 2, Episode 22.
Carey was among the slate of actors who were members of Mel Brooks unofficial repertory company, appearing in several of the director’s films; Carey was featured in Silent Movie, High Anxiety, and History of the World: Part I. He also appeared in Fatso, directed by Brooks’ wife Anne Bancroft and featuring several Brooks regulars.
Life and career
Carey was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Fanny and John Cicenia, and was raised in an Italian American Catholic family. Carey did stand-up comedy in the 1960s, after earning a bachelor’s degree in communications from Seton Hall University in 1956. His comedy centered mostly on Catholicism and his childhood of being the undersized but quick-witted kid on the block. His break came in 1966 when he appeared on The Merv Griffin Show and in 1967 he released a comedy album entitled The Slightly Irreverent Comedy of Ron Carey.
From the mid-1970s on, Carey was a member of Mel Brooks’ comedy troupe, appearing in featured roles in films such as High Anxiety, Silent Movie, and History of the World, Part I. He also appeared in supporting roles in other films and on television, and was seen in scores of commercials, including some T-shirt ads for Hanes, an ad for Nabisco’s snack cracker Better Cheddars, where he sang, and a Post Honeycomb ad, in which he played a character named Mr. Big who came to the Honeycomb Hideout looking for a cereal with “a big, big bite.” He is most remembered for his role as the diligent but somewhat obsequious and passive-aggressive Officer Carl Levitt, which he played from 1976 to 1982 on the TV series Barney Miller.
Carey died of a stroke at a Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, in January 2007. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Sharon, and his brother, James Cicenia.
|1970||The Out-of-Towners||Cab Driver – Boston|
|1971||Who Killed Mary What’s ‘Er Name?||Larry the Bartender|
|1971||Made for Each Other||Group Member #1|
|1971||NBC Children’s Theater||episode: “Super Plastic Elastic Goggles”|
|1975||The Montefuscos||Frank Montefusco||TV Series, 9 episodes|
|1976-1982||Barney Miller||Officer Carl Levitt / Angelo Molinari aka The Mole||TV Series, 121 episodes|
|1981||History of the World: Part I||Swiftus|
|1989||Have Faith||Father Vincent Paglia||TV Series, 7 episodes|
|1991||Lucky Luke||Joe Dalton|
|1997||The Good Bad Guy||Robert Lambert|
|1999||Food for Thought||Business Man||Short, (final film role)|