Biography

Often introduced as "one of America's most familiar faces," it's likely that you've caught a glimpse of Ron Masak either in one of his over 300 appearances in various television shows, on that commercial that lingers in the back of your memory somewhere (he was once blessed with the moniker "king of commercials" and was the voice of the Vlassic Pickle Stork for 15 years), or maybe in one of his 15 feature film appearances. Whatever you might recognize him from, if you don't remember his name, he's the guy that you know you've seen somewhere before, but just might not be able to place where. A native of Chicago, IL (he was once offered a contract with the Chicago White Sox by Hall-of-Famer Rogers Hornsby), Masak was classically trained as an actor at the Windy City's own CCC. A tireless performer, Masak found an initial platform for his talents in the Army, where he toured the world entertaining in an all-Army show in which he served as writer, performer, and director. Masak became well-known not only for his acting abilities, but for the fact that he was a dedicated performer who never missed a show. Proving himself adept at roles ranging from Shakespeare to his almost decade-long stint as the sheriff on Murder She Wrote, Masak thrived in theater and in commercial work around Chicago in the late '50s and early '60s. After a few minor roles in such television series as Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Monkees, and The Flying Nun (not to mention what many consider to be one of the earliest Elvis impersonations on the Spade Cooley Show in 1958), Masak was spotted by producer Harry Ackerman early in his career and went to California to audition for a lead in a pilot. Though that particular prospect fell through, Masak was introduced to John Sturges, a meeting which resulted in his feature debut in the cold-war thriller Ice Station Zebra (1968). Masak's work as an emcee is another testament to his universal appeal and versatile likeability; he has served as host for some of the biggest names in show business, including such talents as Kenny Rogers and Billy Crystal. Masak also starred in four of the most successful sales motivational videos of all time, including Second Effort with Vince Lombardi and Ya Gotta Believe with Tommy Lasorda (which Masak also wrote and directed). The first recipient of MDA's Humanitarian of the Year Award, Masak's work as field announcer for the Special Olympics and his eight-year stint as host of The Jerry Lewis Telethon represents only a fraction of his remarkable work as a compassionate philanthropist, and though Masak's film work may not be as prolific or as frequent as his extensive television work, his roles in such films as Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) are always memorable and constantly ring true with an appeal that often leaves a lasting impression, even though his screen time may be brief and his characters secondary. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi