×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Shepard Menken

Longtime actor and voiceover artist Shepard Menken, who made famous the phrase “The oooonly way to fly” on the Western Airlines TV commercial during the 1960s, died Jan. 2 of natural causes at the Motion Picture & Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 77.

From the age of 11, the New York City native appeared on numerous radio programs, including “Uncle Bob’s Children’s Show” broadcast from Manhattan.

He attended Columbia U and later, via scholarships, studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse Theater and Juilliard School of Music.

In 1949, he segued to the bigscreen as a character actor appearing in 19 films over a two-decade period, including “The Red Menace,” “The Great Caruso,” “The Merry Widow,” “The Benny Goodman Story” and “The Brothers Karamazov.”

Although perhaps best remembered for the Western Airlines commercial, Menken also did voiceovers for Hanna-Barbera Prods., Marvel Prods., UPA Animation and most of the film studios. His voice could also be heard on commercials for Starkist Tuna, Ford, Friskies and Mattel Toys.

In addition, he appeared regularly on such TV series as “I Love Lucy,” “I Spy,” “The Big Valley” and “Wild, West West.”

In 1963, Menken formed his own film company, Malibu Films, producing and distributing pics to business and educational institutions throughout the U.S.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Claire, three grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

More Scene

  • Lauren Ash44th Annual Gracie Awards, Show,

    Politics and New Abortion Ban Laws Dominate 2019 Gracie Awards

    Female empowerment was in the air Tuesday night as showrunners, writers and performers gathered at the 44th annual Gracie Awards to celebrate women breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings within the entertainment industry. Sandra Oh, Patricia Arquette, Rachel Maddow and Connie Britton were among the honorees at the ceremony, which took place at the Beverly [...]

  • Sacha Baron Cohen

    Why Sacha Baron Cohen Credits Donald Trump for ‘Who Is America?’

    Over the course of history, comedians have shared their take on current events with biting commentary on everything from class and gender to fashion and politics, and the current presidential administration is definitely no exception — with President Donald Trump regularly lampooned on shows like “Saturday Night Live” and by late-night TV hosts. But when [...]

  • James Marsden attends the 2019 MOCA

    New Abortion Ban Laws Take Center Stage at MOCA Gala

    Forty years ago in Los Angeles, the decision to invest millions in a museum dedicated exclusively to contemporary art — not to mention its formerly desolate downtown location, where the vibe was more apocalyptic than artsy — was a risky proposition. But now that the city’s cultural heart has shifted south of Hollywood, it seems [...]

  • Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment,

    Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment, Imprisonment for Trump, Says Maybe Al Pacino Should Lead Instead

    Robert De Niro honored Al Pacino, his longtime friend and four-time collaborator (with Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film “The Irishman” marking their latest pairing), at the American Icon Awards, and then called for a different type of tribute for President Donald Trump — “impeachment and imprisonment.” “You didn’t think you were going to completely get away without [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content