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Raymond Burr

A Canadian actor, primarily known for his roles in the television dramas Perry Mason and Ironside and his lead role as Steve Martin in Godzilla, King of the Monsters and Godzilla 1985.

In 1937, Burr began his acting career at the Pasadena Playhouse. In 1941, he landed his first Broadway role in Crazy with the Heart. He became a contract player at RKO studio, playing mostly villains.

He appeared in over 60 movies between 1946 and 1957.

Burr received favourable notice for his role as a prosecutor in A Place in the Sun (1951), co-starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, but perhaps his best-known film role of the period was the suspected murderer in the Alfred Hitchcock classic Rear Window (1954), starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly.

During this time, Burr's distinctive voice could also be heard on network radio, appearing alongside Jack Webb in the short-lived Pat Novak for Hire on ABC radio, as well as in early episodes of NBC's Dragnet.

In 1956, Burr auditioned for the role of District Attorney Hamilton Burger in Perry Mason, a new courtroom drama based on the highly successful novels written and created by Erle Stanley Gardner that was to air on CBS.

William Talman tried out for the title role. However, Gardner was present and demanded that the actors switch parts. Mason eventually became the role with which Burr was most closely identified, while Talman got to lose every case (at least against Mason) as Burger.

Also starring were Barbara Hale - a 1940s movie actress and old friend of Burrís - as Masonís secretary, Della Street, and B-actor William Hopper as Masonís private investigator, Paul Drake.

Burr won two Emmy Awards for his role as Perry Mason which originally ran from 1957 to 1966, and has been re-run in syndication ever since.

Mason TV movies filmed between 1989 and 1995. By this time, Burr was largely using a wheelchair full-time (in his final Mason movie, he is always shown either sitting or standing while leaning on a table, but never standing unsupported) due to his failing health.

In 1993, as he had with the Perry Mason TV movies, Burr decided to do an Ironside reunion movie. In May of that year, The Return of Ironside aired, reuniting the entire original cast of the 1967-1975 series. However, as he was already in his last days suffering from liver cancer.

Raymond Burr was homosexual, but hid his sexuality for most of his life out of fear that it would damage his career.

In late 1992, Burr was diagnosed with cancer in his left kidney, but he refused to undergo surgery, as this would have interfered with the shooting schedule of his final two television movies.

Burr threw several "goodbye parties" before his death on September 12, 1993 at his Sonoma County, California. He was 76 years old.

Films include

Desperate (1947)
Sleep, My Love (1948)
Pitfall (1948)
Raw Deal (1948)
Adventures of Don Juan (1948)
Black Magic (1949)
Red Light (1949)
Abandoned (1949)
Love Happy (1950)
A Place in the Sun (1951)
His Kind of Woman (1951)
Bride of the Gorilla (1951)
The Blue Gardenia (1953)
Serpent of the Nile (1953)
Tarzan and the She-Devil (1953)
Casanova's Big Night (1954)
Gorilla at Large (1954)
Rear Window (1954)
You're Never Too Young (1955)
Count Three and Pray (1955)
Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956)
Please Murder Me (1956)
Crime of Passion (1957)
Another Time, Another Place (1958)
Desire in the Dust (1960)
The Return (1980)
Out of the Blue (1980)
Peter and Paul (1981) (TV)
Airplane II: The Sequel (1982) (cameo)
Godzilla 1985 (1985)
Delirious (1991)

All added information in-depth may be obtained at the web address above.

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