biography

Born in British Columbia on May 21, 1917, character actor Raymond Burr traveled extensively as a youth. However, after the divorce of his parents, Burr and his mother relocated to California. During the Depression, Burr worked endless odd jobs to help support his family, and with the onset of World War II, he enlisted in the Navy. Prior to entering the Navy, Burr had worked in off-Broadway productions, served a short stint as a nightclub singer, and dabbled in films. So after his tour of duty was up, he attempted to break into films, and eventually he secured a contract at RKO. Perhaps due to his imposing stature (Burr was 6'3" and weighed more than 200 pounds) and deep voice, Burr excelled at portraying villains and tough guys in film noir, adventures, and westerns. He also did quite a bit of work in radio during the 1940s and 1950s.

Raymond Burr

Raymond Burr starred in numerous film noir thrillers in the 1940s and 1950s

While Burr often acted in B movies, he found work in several A pictures, including A Place in the Sun (1951; with Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor) and as the murderer Lars Thorwald in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954; with James Stewart and Grace Kelly). By the late 1950s, Raymond Burr had acted in more than 50 films, yet he found stardom only when he was cast as the title character in the CBS TV series Perry Mason. Cast against type as an attorney dedicated to establishing the innocence of his clients, Burr eventually left behind his talent for playing heavies and thugs and portrayed benevolent heroes for the remainder of his career.

the films of raymond burr

Desperate (1947)

Raymond Burr

As the menacing Walt Radak in the RKO film noir release Desperate, one of Burr's first starring roles

Pitfall (1948)

Lizabeth Scott and Raymond BurrLizabeth Scott and Raymond Burr

Images from the underrated United Artists film noir thriller Pitfall. LEFT: With Lizabeth Scott. RIGHT: Burr threatens shady Lizabeth Scott and everyman Dick Powell

Borderline (1950)

Raymond BurrRaymond Burr

From the Universal-International noir thriller Borderline

Bride of the Gorilla (1951)

Raymond Burr and Barbara Payton

With Barbara Payton in the campy horror flick Bride of the Gorilla

A Place in the Sun (1951)

Montgomery Clift and Raymond Burr

With Montgomery Clift in the noir-ish drama A Place in the Sun

His Kind of Woman (1951)

Robert Mitchum and Raymond Burr

With Robert Mitchum in the RKO film noir vehicle His Kind of Woman

Gorilla at Large (1954)

Lee J. Cobb, Anne Bancroft, and Raymond Burr

With Lee J. Cobb and Anne Bancroft in the low-budget 20th Century Fox 3-D spectacle Gorilla at Large

Ride the High Iron (1956)

Sally Forrest and Raymond Burr

With Sally Forrest in the Columbia drama Ride the High Iron

Perry Mason (1957-1966 CBS TV Series)

Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale

Raymond Burr portrayed Perry Mason on the TV series of the same name, and Barbara Hale portrayed Mason's secretary Della Street. William Hopper rounded out the cast as Paul Drake

Desire in the Dust (1960)

Ken Scott and Raymond BurrRaymond Burr and Martha HyerMartha Hyer and Raymond BurrRaymond Burr

Images from the 20th Century Fox potboiler Desire in the Dust. LEFT: With Ken Scott. CENTER A and B: With Martha Hyer as Burr's daughter Melinda. RIGHT: Burr as Col. Ben Marquand

Ironside (1967-1975 NBC TV Series)

Don Galloway, Raymond Burr, Barbara Anderson, and Don Mitchell

Early 1970s promotional photo from Burr's series Ironside with Don Galloway, Elizabeth Baur, and Don Mitchell

Tomorrow Never Comes (1978)

Raymond Burr, Donald Pleasence, and Oliver Reed

With Donald Pleasence and Oliver Reed in the Canadian-made crime drama Tomorrow Never Comes

Perry Mason: The Case of the Sinister Spirit (1987)

Raymond Burr and Robert Stack

Scene from Burr's 1987 TV film Perry Mason: The Case of the Sinister Spirit with Robert Stack

later years

Much of Raymond Burr's personal life history is cloudy, as the actor kept his private life closely guarded. Contrary to many published reports, Burr was married only once for a brief period and had no children.

Thanks in part to his work ethic and success in television, Burr amassed a fortune, which he shared through generous contributions to various charities. When Burr's Perry Mason character returned to television in the 1980s by way of made-for-television films, he introduced a new generation of fans to the series. He continued working into his 70s largely to donate his salary to humanitarian causes. Sadly, Raymond Burr passed away on September 12, 1993, from cancer at the age of 76. He was survived by his partner, Robert Benevides, who manages the Raymond Burr Vineyards in Burr's memory.

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filmography

FILM
Perry Mason: The Case of the Killer Kiss (1993) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, Stuart Damon, Linda Dano, and Genie Francis
Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host (1993) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, Regis Philbin, Cristina Ferrare, G. Gordon Liddy, Montel Williams, and Betsy Jones-Moreland
Perry Mason: The Case of the Skin-Deep Scandal (1993) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, Scott Thompson Baker, Polly Bergen, Morgan Fairchild, Tippi Hedren, Betsy Jones-Moreland, and David Warner
The Return of Ironside (1993) with Don Galloway, Dana Wynter, and Cliff Gorman
Grass Roots (1992) with Claude Akins and Joanna Cassidy
Perry Mason: The Case of the Heartbroken Bride (1992) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, Ronny Cox, Linda Blair, Paul Dooley, and Diane Baker
Perry Mason: The Case of the Reckless Romeo (1992) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, Geraldo Rivera, Tracy Nelson, Priscilla Barnes, and Vonetta McGee
Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Framing (1992) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, Scott Valentine, David Soul, Betsy Jones-Moreland, and Debbi Morgan
Showdown at Williams Creek (1991)
Delirious (1991) with John Candy
Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Fashion (1991) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, Valerie Harper, Diana Muldaur, and Scott Baio
Perry Mason: The Case of the Glass Coffin (1991) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, John Karlen, Julie Sommars, Peter Scolari, and Betsy Jones-Moreland
Perry Mason: The Case of the Maligned Mobster (1991) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, Mason Adams, Michael Nader, and Betsy Jones-Moreland
Perry Mason: The Case of the Ruthless Reporter (1991) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, John James, Jerry Orbach, Susan Sullivan, Philip Michael Thomas, and Betsy Jones-Moreland
Perry Mason: The Case of the Defiant Daughter (1990) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, Robert Culp, Ken Kercheval, Kevin Tighe, Robert Vaughn, and Don Galloway
Perry Mason: The Case of the Silenced Singer (1990) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, Tim Reid, Vanessa Williams, Angela Bassett, Alice Ghostley, and Betsy Jones-Moreland
Perry Mason: The Case of the Desperate Deception (1990) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, Ian McShane, Yvette Mimieux, Marcy Walker, and Teresa Wright
Perry Mason: The Case of the Poisoned Pen (1990) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, Cindy Williams, Barbara Babcock, Tony Lo Bianco, and David Warner
Perry Mason: The Case of the All-Star Assassin (1989) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, Deidre Hall, Shari Belafonte, and Pernell Roberts
Perry Mason: The Case of the Musical Murder (1989) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, Debbie Reynolds, Jerry Orbach, and Lori Petty
Perry Mason: The Case of the Lethal Lesson (1989) with Barbara Hale, William R. Moses, and Brian Keith
Perry Mason: The Case of the Lady in the Lake (1988) with Barbara Hale, William Katt, David Hasselhoff, John Beck, John Ireland, and Audra Lindley
Perry Mason: The Case of the Avenging Ace (1988) with Barbara Hale, William Katt, Erin Gray, Larry Wilcox, Charles Siebert, Don Galloway, David Ogden Stiers, and Patty Duke
Perry Mason: The Case of the Scandalous Scoundrel (1987) with Barbara Hale, William Katt, Robert Guillaume, Morgan Brittany, George Grizzard, Wings Hauser, Yaphet Kotto, and David Ogden Stiers
Perry Mason: The Case of the Murdered Madam (1987) with Barbara Hale, William Katt, Anthony Geary, Bill Macy, James Noble, Ann Jillian, and David Ogden Stiers
Perry Mason: The Case of the Sinister Spirit (1987) with Barbara Hale, William Katt, Robert Stack, Kim Delaney, Leigh Taylor-Young, and David Ogden Stiers
Perry Mason: The Case of the Lost Love (1987) with Barbara Hale, William Katt, Jean Simmons, Robert Mandan, Robert Walden, Gordon Jump, Gene Barry, and David Ogden Stiers
Perry Mason: The Case of the Shooting Star (1986) with Barbara Hale, William Katt, Joe Penny, Ron Glass, Alan Thicke, Ivan Dixon, David Ogden Stiers, and Jennifer O'Neill
Perry Mason: The Case of the Notorious Nun (1986) with Barbara Hale, William Katt, Timothy Bottoms, Barbara Parkins, David Ogden Stiers, and Tom Bosley
Perry Mason Returns (1985) with Barbara Hale, William Katt, and Richard Anderson
Godzilla 1985 (1985)
Airplane II: The Sequel (1982) with Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Chuck Connors, and Kent McCord
Peter and Paul (1981) Anthony Hopkins, Eddie Albert, and Robert Foxworth
The Return (1980) with Jan-Michael Vincent, Cybill Shepherd, Susan Kiger, and Neville Brand; directed by Greydon Clark
The Night the City Screamed (1980) with Georg Stanford Brown and David Cassidy
Out of the Blue (1980) with Dennis Hopper and Sharon Farrell
The Curse of King Tut's Tomb (1980) with Eva Marie Saint
Disaster on the Coastliner (1979) with Lloyd Bridges, Robert Fuller, and Yvette Mimieux
Love's Savage Fury (1979) with Robert Reed, Perry King, Jennifer O'Neill, and Connie Stevens
The Jordan Chance (1978) with Stella Stevens, Ted Shackelford, and Gerald McRaney
Tomorrow Never Comes (1978) with Oliver Reed, John Ireland, Susan George, and Donald Pleasence
Kingston (1976) with Claire Brennen, Bradford Dillman, and Dina Merrill
Mallory: Circumstantial Evidence (1976) with Peter Mark Richman, Mark Hamill, and Robert Loggia
Portrait: A Man Whose Name Was John (1973)
The Priest Killer (1971) with Don Galloway and George Kennedy
Split Second to an Epitaph (1968) with Troy Donahue, Joseph Cotten, and Don Stroud
P.J. (1968) with George Peppard, Coleen Gray, Jason Evers, and Gayle Hunnicutt
Ironside (1967) with Don Galloway, Kim Darby, and Wally Cox
Desire in the Dust (1960) with Martha Hyer, Joan Bennett, and Brett Halsey
Affair in Havana (1957) with John Cassavetes
Crime of Passion (1957) with Sterling Hayden, Barbara Stanwyck, Virginia Grey, Stuart Whitman, and Fay Wray
The Brass Legend (1956) with Hugh O'Brian and Nancy Gates
Ride the High Iron (1956) with Sally Forrest and Don Taylor
A Cry in the Night (1956) with Brian Donlevy, Edmund O'Brien, and Natalie Wood
Secret of Treasure Mountain (1956) with Lance Fuller
Great Day in the Morning (1956) with Virginia Mayo, Ruth Roman, Robert Stack, and Alex Nicol
Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956)
Please Murder Me (1956) with Angela Lansbury
Count Three and Pray (1955) with Allison Hayes, Van Heflin, Joanne Woodward, Myron Healey, and Nancy Kulp
A Man Alone (1955) with Ray Milland, Lee Van Cleef, and Ward Bond
You're Never Too Young (1955) with Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Nancy Kulp, and Mitzi McCall
Gorilla at Large (1954) with Cameron Mitchell, Anne Bancroft, Lee J. Cobb, Warren Stevens, and Lee Marvin
Passion (1954) with Cornel Wilde, Yvonne De Carlo, and Lon Chaney Jr.
They Were So Young (1954) with Scott Brady and Gert Frobe
Thunder Pass (1954) with Dane Clark and John Carradine
Khyber Patrol (1954) with Richard Egan and Dawn Addams
Rear Window (1954) with James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, and Wendell Corey
Casanova's Big Night (1954) with Bob Hope, Joan Fontaine, Lon Chaney Jr., Basil Rathbone, Hugh Marlowe, and John Carradine
Fort Algiers (1953) with Yvonne De Carlo, Leif Erickson, and Carlos Thompson
Tarzan and the She-Devil (1953) with Lex Barker, Tom Conway, and Monique van Vooren
Serpent of the Nile (1953) with Rhonda Fleming and William Lundigan
The Blue Gardenia (1953) with Anne Baxter, George Reeves, Richard Conte, Ann Sothern, and Jeff Donnell
The Bandits of Corsica (1953) with Paula Raymond, Richard Greene, Lee Van Cleef, Dona Drake, Nestor Paiva, and Clayton Moore
Horizons West (1952) with Rock Hudson, Julie Adams, Robert Ryan, and James Arness
Mara Maru (1952) with Errol Flynn and Ruth Roman
Meet Danny Wilson (1952) with Frank Sinatra, Shelley Winters, and Alex Nicol
Bride of the Gorilla (1951) with Barbara Payton, Lon Chaney Jr., Tom Conway, and Woody Strode
New Mexico (1951) with Lew Ayres, Marilyn Maxwell, and Robert Hutton
FBI Girl (1951) with George Brent, Cesar Romero, Joi Lansing, and Tommy Noonan
The Magic Carpet (1951) with John Agar, Lucille Ball, and Patricia Medina
The Whip Hand (1951) with Elliott Reid
His Kind of Woman (1951) with Jane Russell, Robert Mitchum, Vincent Price, and Tim Holt
A Place in the Sun (1951) with Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor, and Shelley Winters
M (1951) with David Wayne, Martin Gabel, and Steve Brodie
Love Happy (1950) with the Marx Brothers, Melville Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, Ilona Massey, and Vera-Ellen
Borderline (1950) with Fred MacMurray and Claire Trevor
Key to the City (1950) with Clark Gable, Loretta Young, and Marilyn Maxwell
Unmasked (1950) with Robert Rockwell, Barbara Fuller, Hillary Brooke, and Barbara Pepper
Black Magic (1949) with Orson Welles
Abandoned (1949) with Dennis O'Keefe, Gale Storm, and Jeff Chandler
Red Light (1949) with Virginia Mayo and George Raft
Bride of Vengeance (1949) with Paulette Goddard, Macdonald Carey, and Albert Dekker
Ruthless (1948) with Zachary Scott, Sydney Greenstreet, and Martha Vickers
Adventures of Don Juan (1948) with Errol Flynn, Viveca Lindfors, and Ann Rutherford
Walk a Crooked Mile (1948) with Louis Hayward, Louise Allbritton, and Dennis O'Keefe
Station West (1948) with Dick Powell, Agnes Moorehead, Jane Greer, and Steve Brodie
Pitfall (1948) with Dick Powell, Lizabeth Scott, and Jane Wyatt
Raw Deal (1948) with Dennis O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, and John Ireland
Sleep, My Love (1948) with Robert Cummings, Claudette Colbert, and Don Ameche
I Love Trouble (1948) with Franchot Tone, Adele Jergens, Janet Blair, and John Ireland
Desperate (1947) with Steve Brodie and Audrey Long
Code of the West (1947) with James Warren, Robert Clarke, and Steve Brodie
San Quentin (1946) with Lawrence Tierney, Carol Forman, and Robert Clarke

TELEVISION SERIES
Centennial, 1978 miniseries. Burr portrayed Herman Bockweiss
Kingston: Confidential, 1977 TV series. Burr portrayed B.B. Kingston
Harold Robbins' 79 Park Avenue, 1977 miniseries. Burr portrayed Armand Perfido
Ironside, 1967-1975 NBC TV series. Burr portrayed Robert Ironside
Perry Mason, 1957-1966 CBS TV series. Burr portrayed Perry Mason. Also in the regular cast were Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman, Ray Collins, and Wesley Lau

links

Raymond Burr Vineyards
Offering fine wine and exquisite orchids, the Raymond Burr Vineyards web site is a wonderful homage to Burr's interests. Fine wines are available for purchase at this site.

raymond burr film now showing

Watch Raymond Burr in the campy 1951 thriller Bride of the Gorilla
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This page premiered June 2, 2003.
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