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Raymond Burr: being Perry Mason

Twelve-hour days are just part of the job when you're the face of a hit TV series. But according to actor Raymond Burr, who plays the eponymous defence lawyer on CBS's Perry Mason, working with a fine cast and crew makes the long days less difficult. Adapted from stories by writer Erle Stanley Gardner, the courtroom drama has made a star of Burr. In this 1959 interview from CBC Radio, Burr says the character of Perry Mason has afforded him great opportunities as an actor. 
• Raymond Burr was born in New Westminster, B.C. in 1917 and moved to California as a child, eventually studying at Stanford and Columbia Universities. The role of Perry Mason, which he nabbed after an audition, was a breakthrough for him in 1957. Before that he had played the murderer in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window.
  • Perry Mason lasted until 1966. The following year, Burr took on the lead in the series Ironside (1967-75), in which he played a police detective who uses a wheelchair.

• According to the Globe and Mail, Burr died in 1993, leaving most of his estate to companion Robert Benevides. In 2008 Benevides told the newspaper he accepted Burr's silence about their relationship: "Hollywood is too homophobic. No way could he admit that and still be a leading man."

• In 2009 Burr was given a star on Canada's Walk of Fame. He is also honoured in his hometown with the Raymond Burr Performing Arts Centre, a refurbished theatre.

Medium: Radio
Program: Assignment
Broadcast Date: Feb. 13, 1959
Guest(s): Raymond Burr
Interviewer: Gerald Pratley
Duration: 5:38

Last updated: June 12, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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