Ron Masak’s face and voice are more familiar than his name. As Sheriff Mort Metzger in “Murder She Wrote” he appeared with Angela Lansbury as the mystery novelist who ran into a different real-life mystery every week. And he has been called the “King of Commercials” for his appearance in hundreds of radio and television ads. This career has given him the opportunity to meet up with many of the biggest stars of sports, show business, and more. He has written about his encounters with heroes from Buzz Aldrin and Muhammad Ali to Bill Cosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, and Elvis Presley in a charming book called I’ve Met All My Heroes From A To Z. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me what celebrity you’d like to meet and the first one I receive will win a copy of this book.
Ron was nice enough to answer my questions.
Which of the people you met was least like his or her public persona?
The fact that they made the book means that they were all pretty much what they appeared to be. Lucy [Lucille Ball] of course was a brilliant business woman as well.
Which one taught you the most important lesson?
My wife…taught me to “be yourself. My college director had the same advice.
My favorite part of your book is your loving tribute to your wife. What did she
teach your children about how to be a parent?
Be a living example to them…Teach them right from wrong, to “be themselves” and never let them leave the house without hearing “I love you.”
I’m a Chicagoan, too — so what’s your favorite place for pizza in Chicago?
In my youth it was Venuccis, Chesdens, and Home Run Inn.
Do you find that the same qualities lead to achievement whether it is in acting, sports, or the military?
Yes, the challenge, the preparation, the ability to perform your duties.
Who is the bravest of your heroes and why?
Audie Murphy, most decorated man in WWII, medal of honor winner. Who could top that?
Who is the funniest?
In my book a tie between George Burns, Jerry Lewis, Lucy, and Cosby. Not in my book? Shecky Greene.
As the King of Commercials, what is the most important thing to remember in
making an ad?
Timing…If you are brilliant and it’s too long it is wasted.
Do you really have to like the product?
One surprising thing about your book is the unexpected kindness shown by many of
the people you write about. Do you have a favorite example?
They were all so generous with their time and talent. Roy Rogers, catching a Special Olympian out of the corner of his eye as we were leaving, going over to him in his wheelchair, kneeling and spending time with him. He was special….he was everything you wanted your hero to be.