Sunday, May 21, 2017

Burr’s Dramatic Century

As Robert Lopresti’s Today in Mystery History blog reminds us, actor Raymond Burr—who shifted from villainous movie roles in the 1940s and ’50s to star in the TV series Perry Mason, Ironside, and Kingston: Confidential—was born 100 years ago today in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. In his post, Lopresti recalls the familiar story about how, “in 1956 … Burr applied for the part of prosecutor Hamilton Burger in the TV version of Perry Mason. Erle Stanley Gardner, the creator of the character, supposedly took one look at Burr and shouted ‘That’s Perry Mason!’ The show ran until 1966.”

It seems the town of New Westminster, just southeast of Vancouver, B.C., still trades on its association with Burr, though the actor only lived there for a few years before moving with his family to California. According to the Vancouver Sun, the local Raymond Burr Performing Arts Society, along with the Douglas College Foundation and something called the Burr 100 committee “have established a legacy endowment to provide funding to theatre arts students at [New Westminster’s] Douglas College for generations to come honouring the talent and inspiration of the past with our own local celebrity, Raymond Burr.”

Raymond Burr died from cancer in the fall of 1993 during an extensive NBC-TV movie revival of Perry Mason.

LISTEN UP:Episode 224—Burr in the Saddle: Pat Novak, Johnny Dollar, and Fort Laramie (Down These Mean Streets).

1 comment:

TracyK said...

I have only re-read a few of the Perry Mason mysteries recently after reading them in my teens. To me, Raymond Burr does seem to be the perfect Perry Mason. We are watching season 1 of the TV series and it is a joy to see him in that role and also Barbara Hale as Della Street.