The son of a singing waiter, Ron Carey attended Seton Hall University, then embarked on the catch-as-catch-can life of a standup comedian. A huge hit on his first Jack Paar Show appearance, Carey was an enormous flop on his second Paar gig -- the victim, he'd later insist, of overpreparation. After two years away from show business, Carey rebuilt his confidence with nightly appearances at the Improvisation, a New York nightspot which showcased up-and-coming comics. Traveling westward to Hollywood, Carey appeared in dozens of commercials and secured supporting roles on the 1970s TV sitcoms The Corner Bar and The Montefuscos, then played a one-shot role on the last 1975 episode of Barney Miller. Executive producer Danny Arnold decided to use Carey as a Barney Miller regular, and at the beginning of the series' second season, he settled into the role of Levitt, a street cop who aspired to become a plainclothes detective. During his Barney Miller run (which lasted until 1982), Carey became a member of Mel Brooks's movie stock company, appearing in such Brooks yuckfests as Silent Movie (1976), High Anxiety (1977), and History of the World Pt. I (1981). In 1989, Ron Carey starred in the short-lived sitcom Have Faith, playing Father Vincent Paglia -- an ironic turn of events, inasmuch as Carey had once intended to become a priest.