R.I.P. Ron Masak, Sheriff on 'Murder, She Wrote', Sixties and Seventies character actor later dubbed 'The King of Commercials'
The actor could be seen in classic television sitcoms, dramas and even game shows.
Ron Masak's character-acting career began in 1960 with an appearance on the famed anthology series The Twilight Zone, in the first season episode "The Purple Testament." He began what would be a 60-year active career in television and film.
One role led to another in the early going for Masak. He was in two episodes of The Monkees in 1968. He also had small roles in The Flying Nun, Get Smart, The Good Guys, I Dream of Jeannie and Mayberry R.F.D. in the late-Sixties.
He had multiple multiple appearances on the fantasy sitcom Bewitched between 1969 and 1970, playing the role of an officer twice, and the characters of Irving Bates, Sr. and Buck, respectively in two other appearances.
He had the role of Pete in the 1971 film Evel Knievel.
In the early-Seventies, Masak had small roles on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mannix and Mission: Impossible to name a few, before he starred in the one-season comedy Love Thy Neighbor in 1973.
Two years later, in 1975, Masak began showing up on Police Story across a three year span. His six appearances in the show featured six different roles. He closed out the Seventies with more character actor roles on Wonder Woman, Supertrain and Eischied before playing J.J. Stein in an episode of Magnum, P.I. in 1981.
All of these roles led up to the one Masak is arguably best known for. He played Sheriff Mort Metzger in the long-running crime drama Murder, She Wrote, next to star Angela Lansbury. Masak could also be seen as Lt. Meyer and Marty Giles in two other episodes of Murder, She Wrote, before solidifying himself as Sheriff Metzger.
Masak had 41 appearances on the drama according to IMDb.com, making it his longest recurring role of his career.
According to Deadline, Masak became known as "The King of Commercials" for his active role in voice over work and TV commercials. "Notably, he was the frontman for Vlasic pickles for 15 years," the article states. Aside from commercials and character acting roles, Masak could be seen on a handful of gameshows throughout his career including Password, Tattletales, Liar's Club, Crosswits, Showoffs and his regular panelist role on To Tell the Truth, a reboot of the Fifties game show To Tell the Truth in the Nineties.
The actor died Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022 according to Deadline, just nine days after Murder, She Wrote star and collegue Angela Lansbury passed away.
Masak was 86.