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LGBT People of History 63 - Raymond Burr

Updated on April 12, 2012
Raymond Burr
Raymond Burr | Source
Raymond Burr's Vineyard,
Raymond Burr's Vineyard, | Source

Raymond Burr

Born – May 21st 1917 – Raymond William Stacey Burr in New Westminster, British Columbia in Canada. His father was William Johnston Burr and mother Minerva Burr. His mother and father divorced and he and his siblings went to live in Vallejo, California with his mother.

Raymond attended a Military Academy and graduated from Berkeley High School. He later began his acting career in 1937 at the Pasadena Playhouse.

He appeared in over sixty movies between 1946 and 1957.

He will always be remembered for his two famous TV roles – Perry Mason and Ironside.

Perry Mason was a courtroom drama and ran from 1957 to 1966. He won two Emmys for his work in this series. It is still rerun on TV to this day.

From 1967 to 1975 he starred as Ironside – a detective in the SFPD. His character was shot and wounded and left in a wheelchair. This show was also a huge success.

Afterwards he was approached to make more Perry Mason movies. This he did and made 27 more.

His personal life was cloaked in mystery. He was briefly married in 1949 and after this stories were invented about other fictitious marriages by his publicity department. In reality, Burr was gay and in the 1950s he met Robert Benevides with whom he spent the rest of his life. They ran several businesses together including a vineyard and Benevides was a production consultant in many of the Perry Mason movies. Burr’s sexuality was kept a secret at the time as it was ‘unacceptable’ for the public to know.

Burr died in 1993 after cancer had spread to his liver and became inoperable.
He held several goodbye parties before his death in the same year.
He was just 76 years old.

Ian and Callum.

With thanks to Wikipedia.


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    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Yeah - the reruns are on all the time - and you know - I never knew he was gay until we started this research!


    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      My favourite show is Ironside and I love Raymond Burr, I still watch the show.

      Callum x