On this edition of Ron’s Amazing Stories “the blog” we look at Raymond Burr. Who was he? Why Was he? We will attempt to fill your brains with knowledge, which is power! How will we do it? Let’s play, True or False with Raymond William Stacy Burr.
Q1 – We start with the Burr Truth.
TRUE – Raymond William Stacy Burr was a Canadian-American actor, primarily known for his title roles in the television dramas Perry Mason and Ironside. He was prominently involved in multiple charitable endeavors, such as working on behalf of the United Service Organizations (USO).
Q2 – Raymond Burr’s early acting career usually depicted him as the villain.
True – His portrayal of the suspected murderer in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller Rear Window is his best-known film role. There was no doubt that he was not a good person in that one. There were many other roles in radio, television and on stage that made it quite clear Burr had no problems being bad.
Q3 – Burr was handy to have around since like his character, Perry Mason, he was a bar certified lawyer.
False – Not only was the star not a lawyer, but Burr said himself that he never attended high school. However, he did take courses at Long Beach Junior College, Stanford, and the University of California. He was a benefactor of legal education, and in June 1973, The Raymond Burr Award for Excellence in Criminal Law was established in his honor.
Q4 – TV Guide lists Raymond Burr as one of its greats?
True – In 1996, Burr was listed as one of the 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time by TV Guide. He was ranked #41. Also, a 2014 study found that Burr was rated as the most favorite actor by Netflix users, with the greatest number of dedicated microgenres. Other accolades include: He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6656 Hollywood Blvd, received six Emmy nominations, won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama and In 2008, The Canadian Post issued a postage stamp in its “Canadians in Hollywood” series featuring Burr.
Q7 – Raymond Burr was married three times?
False – His official biography stated that he had been married three times, but two of his wives and one child had died. However, these details were fabricated in an attempt to hide the fact that Burr was gay. Only one brief marriage had actually occurred, and it had ended in divorce. The other two marriages and the child were fiction.
Q6 – Raymond Burr was offered the role as Matt Dillon on the TV version of Gunsmoke.
False – He was considered for the role of Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke. The show’s first producer Charles Warren recalled, “His voice was fine, but he was too big. When he stood up, his chair stood up with him”. William Conrad, who played Matt Dillon on radio, was rejected for the TV version for similar reasons. In a memorial article in TV Guide published shortly after Burr’s death, the original producers of Perry Mason almost rejected Burr for that role, again because Burr was overweight. He went on an intensive diet to get down to a size acceptable to the producers.
Raymond Burr – May 21, 1917 to September 12, 1993 Geyserville, California.
There you have the truth and fiction of Raymond Burr. To me he will always be Perry Mason. I remember as a kid faking being sick just to see repeats of that show at noon. My mom would bring my soup in and I would relish in one of Perry’s unsolvable cases. My thanks to the man and his incredible talent.
This Week’s Podcast:
On the show this week we have a mysterious death by poison, a western starring Raymond Burr and short tale from O-Henry! You can listen to this podcast this Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on TuneIn Radio or listen on your radio Friday night at 8pm Eastern time. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.
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