Raymond Burr was an actor who featured in a number of films during the Golden Age of Hollywood. However, he is most remembered for his role as Perry Mason in the crime drama of the same name, which aired on television from 1957 to 1966. In addition to that, he was famous for his performances in the films “A Cry in the Night,” “Ironside,” and “Rear Window,” all of which were directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Throughout his career, Burr won two Emmy Awards for his acting and was nominated several times for both the Emmys and the Golden Globes. As a result of his performance as an actor, Burr was well regarded, and he garnered awards for the roles he played.
In his spare time, Burr was active in charity and made it his mission to assist those who were struggling financially. During his lifetime, Burr provided foster care for a total of 26 children via his work with Save the Children and the Foster Parents’ Plan. In addition to that, he made financial contributions to a variety of charities and organizations, such as medical facilities, educational establishments, and museums.
Burr was born on May 21st, 1917 in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. During his childhood, Burr and his family traveled about quite a bit. First, they left Canada and relocated to China for his father’s business, and then, when his parents separated, Burr and his siblings moved to Vallejo, California, with their mother. After that, they came back to Canada.
Burr began participating in his high school’s productions while he was in his early teens, which is when he discovered his love of acting. After that, he became a member of the Pasadena Playhouse and refined his talent in early theatrical plays such as “Crazy with the Heat,” which was his first appearance on Broadway, “Quiet Wedding,” and “The Duke in Darkness.” He went on to become an actor. It was because of his performance in the second play that he was offered a contract with RKO Radio Pictures.
It was formerly said that Burr had served in the United States Navy during World War II; however, subsequent reports showed that this was not really true. In any event, Burr’s acting career didn’t really begin to take off until the early years that followed the end of the war. Burr had an appearance in more than 50 films between the years 1946 and 1957, during which time he became a recognizable figure in film noir pictures produced in Hollywood. In this category include films such as “Sleep, My Love,” “Raw Deal,” “Abandoned,” “Red Light,” and “M,” amongst others.
Other parts that he played and became famous for include those in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” and “A Cry in the Night,” as well as other films. In addition, he played the antagonist in movies belonging to a variety of other genres, such as westerns, horror films, and historical plays. Burr told the writer James Bawden the following about his casting in parts that were adversarial like those before:
“All I was was a chubby old overweight… Bill Conrad and I took turns carrying the heaviest load. Both of us were in our 20s when we took on the roles of much older guys.
He continued by saying, “All for my work, I was almost drowned, beaten, and stabbed.” But I was well aware that my weight was dangerously excessive. I did not have any form of healthy self-esteem. When I was 25, I was playing the roles of dads for individuals who were much older than me.
Burr is most known for his extensive body of work in the cinema industry; but, he was also active in the radio and television industries throughout his life, particularly beginning in the 1950s when he became a prolific television actor. This eventually led to his being cast in the part that brought him the greatest fame on the television drama “Perry Mason.” Burr became a household name because to his role as the eponymous district attorney in the show. However, despite the fact that the program was responsible for making him a household celebrity, it seemed to have a severe affect on his personal life. In 1986, he gave an interview to People in which he discussed his time spent working on the series.
“There is just one thing in my life that I have any regrets about, and that is that I wasted nine years of my life tying myself down. I was incapable of getting married, raising a family, or even maintaining friendships.
According to People, Burr was a fragile and sensitive guy who, at one time in his life, favored living on the Fiji Islands because he believed the people who lived there to be more kind and considerate of others. He went on to add, “The locals here have often asked me, ‘Why would you leave civilization to go to a country like Fiji?’” The level of civility in Fiji is on a whole different level from that of California or New York City.
During the Korean and Vietnam wars, he made approximately 30 trips abroad, and while he was there, he paid hospital visits to service members who were injured in both conflicts. After he returned home, he made it a point to remain in contact with the families of the guys who had served in order to update them on their children’s progress. On the other hand, he said, “I did it until I received one answer: ‘My boy’s dead.’”
Stories like this one demonstrate that there was a great deal more to Burr than the figure he portrayed on television. In the same article that was published in People, the interviewer referred to Burr as “a very private, extremely devoted, and very emotional guy,” and Burr managed to live up to this description throughout his whole life.
It’s possible that the difficulties he had as a young kid contributed to his sensitivity. Burr remembered that when he was a small boy growing up in British Columbia, he was ridiculed due to the fact that he was overweight.
He said that “when you’re a young big guy in public school, or any kind of school, you’re simply tormented something horrible.” “When you’re a little heavy boy in public school, or any kind of school,” However, as an adult, Burr’s physically dominating appearance was one of the reasons he succeeded in his depiction of the intimidating lawyer in “Perry Mason.” This was one of the reasons why Burr was cast in the role.
Even though the program has been off the air for three decades, Raymond Burr’s performance as the indomitable Perry Mason merits a great deal of praise for the way he portrayed the character in the show. Burr was a hero in his own right in real life, and he is deserving of praise and honor for the significant contributions he made to the world.
Burr maintained his career as an actor in the decades that followed the cancellation of “Perry Mason.” Another program he participated in, “Ironside,” was very well received, and he also featured in two films based on Godzilla, one of which was the first picture about the well-known Japanese monster to be made in the United States.
Burr had a prosperous life outside of his acting profession as well. In addition to the charitable work he did, the actor was known for the incredible kindness and generosity he showed toward the individuals he encountered in his day-to-day existence. In addition, he had a broad range of hobbies, including growing orchids, collecting stamps, wine, and sea shells, the majority of which he bequeathed to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum in Florida. His collection of stamps was particularly impressive.
Another aspect of Burr’s life that is less well recognized is his commitment to assisting disadvantaged youngsters. Throughout his life, Burr served as a foster parent to a total of 26 children, many of whom had serious medical needs. He did this via several organizations, such as the Foster Parents’ Plan and Save the Children. Children from from places as diverse as Vietnam, the Philippines, Korea, Italy, and Greece were among those there.
Even though Burr spent his whole life in the public eye, a significant portion of his life remains shrouded in mystery. A number of inconsistencies that were present in Burr’s biographies were brought to light after his death from liver cancer in 1993. Many aspects of Burr’s life remain shrouded in mystery, including the number of wives he was married to during his lifetime (one marriage appears to be confirmed, while other sources have said he was married three times), as well as the question of whether or not he was in a homosexual relationship with his friend and business partner Robert Benevides. Burr maintained a high level of privacy throughout his life. In an interview given to People in the year 1986, he confessed as much when he said:
“I don’t have a lot of acting in me. Actor is not something I do around the clock. When my shift is through, I’ll go back to being myself, whatever that may be.