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.

The Everett Collection

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.

The Everett CollectionRon Masak and Angela Lansbury on the set of Murder, She Wrote.


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27 Comments

QazWiz 1 month ago
WOW LINK... that first appearance "Purple Testimony" had at least more known faces, the future "Darren Stevens" Dick York for one and a very memorable face from another Twilight Zone. the Greasy Spoon worker where a bus found an extra (alien) traveler. Dressed like a soda jerk, he removed his hat to reveal a third eye and him being a different race alien
Lillyrose 9 months ago
Ron Masak was great in Murder, She Wrote. He was my favorite character in Murder, She Wrote, after Angela Lansbury. Murder, She Wrote was a great show. I also like the book series.
forthekids 18 months ago
Ron also played Lou Costello to Stan Luchow's Bud Abbott..In a commercial for Post'"Bran News"cereal and for "McDonald's"fast foods restaurants.
MarkSpeck 20 months ago
Ron Masak's cousin is also famous...Michael Gross of Family Ties fame!
DethBiz 20 months ago
RIP Ron Masak. Definitely an underrated talent!
Oceanbreeze 20 months ago
RIP Ron Masak. Prayers to his family. This is just too much loss. First Angela now Ron. So sad.
gerardarcade 20 months ago
Why did you lead off with the most unflattering picture of an aged Ron Masak? BTW: He also appeared in an episode or two of One Day At A Time.
Matsui 20 months ago
RIP, just see him recently at a Hollywood Show event signing autographs as Sheriff in Murder She Wrote TV show.
Ready2go 20 months ago
Ron was also a sailor in "Ice Station Zebra", with Rock Hudson in 1968.
Michael Ready2go 20 months ago
I saw thatwhen it came out, a kid at school had a birthday and it was the party.

The first time, at eight, I recognized no one. But much later, I noticed Gerald O'Loughlin, of The Rookies. (He guested on Murder She Wrote, like so many others). I may have noticed others
MarkSpeck Michael 20 months ago
Another soon-to-be-famous face in Ice Station Zebra...Jonathan Lippe a/k/a Jonathan Goldsmith, the World's Most Interesting Man from the Dos Equis beer commercials.
Michael 20 months ago
Sheriff Tupper seemed to fit Cabot Cove better. But Mort Metzger was on longer, so he fit in.
Zip 21 months ago
Never watched Murder, She Wrote, but I sure remember this guy. Always seemed like a nice fellow.
TheDavBow3 21 months ago
One of the great character actors. He was everywhere in the 70s and 80s.
MrsPhilHarris 21 months ago
I didn’t recognize him until I saw the picture of him and Angela Lansbury.
Sway 21 months ago
R.I.P. Ron Masak. Remember him all over TV. 60 year career in film and TV, wow. Thanks Ron.
Pacificsun 21 months ago
Regarding Advertisers, sorry. Don't remember this gentleman in any commercial.

But I could place him in Murder She Wrote, though I didn't follow the Series.
Runeshaper 21 months ago
R.I.P. Ron Masak. Love Murder She Wrote!
cperrynaples 21 months ago
Fun Fact: Not only did Masak impersonate Groucho Marx for Vlastic, he also did a commercial as Lou Costello for a cereal company!
Runeshaper cperrynaples 21 months ago
That's AWESOME!
Pacificsun cperrynaples 21 months ago
If that's National advertising, seems likely.

Not sure viewers realize that cable companies defer to local advertising and for other reasons, pick and choose among those Nationwide commercials. Right now, we're saturated with Medicare, Colonial Penn, My Pillow and of course, Auto dealerships. In ten years (here) I've never seen a cereal commercial. Somebody must be interpreting the demographics.
Bricat2001 Pacificsun 20 months ago
Dont forget the lawyer commercials
Pacificsun Bricat2001 20 months ago
Sadly, I have them memorized.
And does anyone realize that those commercials are repetitively stacked in the SAME order per month. And then they are rearranged (only to some degree). What they've done is queue them up so unconsciously you actually expect the next commercial to follow the one before it. Because the only way advertising works, is through sheer repetition.
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