Ron Carey, an actor best known for his work as a cocky, height-challenged policeman on the 1970s TV comedy "Barney Miller," has died. He was 71.

Carey died of a stroke Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said Michael Ciccolini, an extended relative and family spokesman.

Carey had a recurring role on "Barney Miller" from 1976 to 1982 as Officer Carl Levitt, who yearned for a promotion to detective in the New York squad room run by Capt. Barney Miller ( Hal Linden).

Carey also appeared in several Mel Brooks movies, including "High Anxiety" and "History of the World Part I."

"Ron Carey was truly talented, very funny and one of the dearest men I've ever worked with," Brooks said in a statement.

Carey played a Boston cab driver in the 1970 Jack Lemmon comedy "The Out of Towners." He also appeared in scores of commercials, and took pride in being a supporting player and a character actor.

"Stars are stars," he told Newsday in 1989. "But without us, the show wouldn't go on."

Carey was born Ronald Joseph Cicenia on Dec. 11, 1935, in Newark, N.J.

He launched his stand-up comedy career in New York after earning a bachelor's degree in communications from Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., in 1956. He made his first national television appearance a decade later on "The Merv Griffin Show." Appearances on "The Tonight Show" and the "Ed Sullivan Show" followed.

Carey is survived by his wife, Sharon, and his brother, Jimmy Cicenia.