76 (passed away Sep. 12th, 1993)
May. 21st, 1917
New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
6' 1 1/2"
Raymond Burr's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Born as Raymond 'William Stacy' Burr, 21 May 1917, in New Westminster, British Columbia, Burr spent most of his early life travelling. While still young, his father moved his family to China, while the elder Burr worked as a trade agent. When the family returned to Canada, Raymond's parents divorced; his mother then took him to Vallejo, California, where she raised him with the aid of his grandparents. As he got older, Burr began to take jobs to support his mother, younger sister and younger brother. He took jobs as a ranch hand in Roswell, New Mexico; as a deputy sheriff; a photo salesman; and even as a singer in night clubs.
In World War Two, Burr served in the Navy. When in Okinawa, he was shot in the stomach and sent home. Soon after this, in 1946, Burr made his film debut in San Quentin (1946). From there, he went on to act in more than 90 films before landing the role of defense attorney "Perry Mason" (1957) in the series of the same name. Then, in 1993, after a battle with cancer that dated back to his days on "Perry Mason", Burr died on 12 September 1993 at his ranch home.
- His favorite hobby, later developed into a business, was cultivating orchids. Raymond developed one orchid which he named the 'Barbara Hale' (qv) Orchid.
- Was a candidate to play Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke (TV series 1955-75). In an August 23, 1975 article in TV Guide called "When Chester Forgot to Limp" commemorating trivia from Gunsmoke (which was about to leave the air), the show's first producer Charles Marquis 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 (TV series 1957-66) almost rejected Burr for that role - again because Burr was too overweight. He went on an intensive diet to get down to an acceptable size.
- Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 3, 1991-1993, pages 84-85. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2001.
- He, 'Michael J. Fox (I)' (qv) and 'Jim Carrey' (qv) head list of top Canadians in U.S. television compiled by Banff Television Festival, June 2002.
- Had an art gallery on California's Rodeo Drive in the early '50s.
- His mother, Minerva Burr, died in 1974, at the age of 81 of cancer and father, William Burr, died in 1985, at the age of 96 of old age.
- Dropped out of San Raphael Military School, at age 17, to support the era, the Civilian Conservation Corps, where he learned to fight forest fires and plant trees.
- He was the director of the Pasadena Community Playhouse before entering the Navy in World War II.