Murder, She Wrote fans were left reeling when the show’s star Angela Lansbury suddenly passed away, now devotees of the popular crime series have been dealt another devastating blow after fellow star Ron Masak passed away.
Masak brought Sheriff Mort Metzger to life on the long-running mystery series, appearing in over 40 episodes alongside Lansbury’s mystery-solving crime novelist Jessica Fletcher.
According to a statement provided to Variety, Masak died of natural causes on Thursday, October 20 surrounded by his family. He was 86 years old.
Born July 1, 1936, Masak was able to pursue his interest in acting through the armed service while touring in an all-Army show entitled Rolling Along from 1960 to 1961.
Masak secured his first on-screen role in 1960 with an appearance on The Twilight Zone and made subsequent appearances in classic shows such as I Dream of Jeannie, The Rockford Files, Land of the Lost, and Quincy, M.E.
However, it was his role as the Cadillac-driving Sheriff Mort Metzger in Murder, She Wrote that Masak was best known for.
Much like Lansbury’s death, Masak’s passing attracted an outpouring of grief and tributes for the late performer from fans and fellow celebrities alike.
Criminal Minds star Joe Mantegna took to social media to bid farewell to “a dear friend”.
R.I.P. Ron Masak. A fellow Chicagoan, an honored veteran, and a dear friend. pic.twitter.com/mr2D8cNUAy
— Joe Mantegna (@JoeMantegna) October 21, 2022
Very sad news: the wonderful Ron Masak, who played Sheriff Mort Metzger on Murder, She Wrote, passed away at the age of 86. Just days after the passing of Dame Angela.
Depest condolences to Mr. Masak’s family and friends.
R.I.P., sir… pic.twitter.com/Tp6GbJE0Ee
— Remembering Dame Angela Lansbury ???????? (@_AngelaLansbury) October 21, 2022
Just when we’re catching our breath from Angela’s passing, it’s taken from us again. Ron Masak was a dear friend, a colleague & in many ways, a mentor. Working w/him, Angela & Bill Windom for 5 years on Murder, She Wrote set me on the right path. Thank you Ron! I’ll miss you! RIP pic.twitter.com/uUxAGay0ZU
— Louis Herthum (@Louis_Herthum) October 21, 2022
RIP Ron Masak. Thank you for giving us the most sublime moment of Murder, She Wrote https://t.co/Yf0hINiC7y
— Chewbacca! (Morlana Club Mix) (@jason1749) October 21, 2022
Our hearts are broken at the loss our dear friend and wonderful actor Ron Masak. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ron and his family ???? R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/wBuZwxFUG6
— Deana Martin (@DeanaMartin_) October 21, 2022
R.I.P. to longtime actor Ron Masak, best known for playing Sheriff Mort Metzger on “Murder, She Wrote.” His family tells me he passed away today of natural causes at the age of 86.
Ron worked in TV, in movies & on stage and in commercials for more than 60 years. pic.twitter.com/5DY8vqoF7U
— George Pennacchio (@abc7george) October 21, 2022
First Jessica now Mort. RIP Ron Masak. pic.twitter.com/tuKfReBOtg
— Drew Baxter (@CampPaDrew) October 21, 2022
Masak’s death comes mere days after Lansbury’s who passed away “peacefully” at the age of 96 on Tuesday, October 11.
Lansbury’s family confirmed her passing in a statement obtained by People.
“The children of Dame Angela Lansbury are sad to announce that their mother died peacefully in her sleep at home in Los Angeles at 1:30 a.m. today, Tuesday, October 11, 2022, just five days shy of her 97th birthday,” the statement read.
“In addition to her three children, Anthony, Deirdre and David, she is survived by three grandchildren, Peter, Katherine and Ian, plus five great grandchildren and her brother, producer Edgar Lansbury.
“She was proceeded in death by her husband of 53 years, Peter Shaw. A private family ceremony will be held at a date to be determined.”
Masak is survived by his wife Kay, six children and 10 grandchildren.