Thursday, February 3, 2011
RAYMOND BURR: HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT
HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: The Secret Life of RAYMOND BURR. Michael Seth Starr. Applause Books; 2008.
Raymond Burr appeared as a burly, often villainous character actor in many crime dramas and such well-known films as Hitchcock's Rear Window. He got his most famous role when he was cast as Earle Stanley Gardner's lawyer Perry Mason for the CBS TV series in the fifties, and he was associated with the role up until his death. Although Burr had one short-lived marriage to a woman, his long-term partner was male, and due to the times and moral clauses and the like he went to some lengths to cover up that side of his life, even going so far as to invent another wife and non-existent son who supposedly died. Still, the book also goes into Burr's generous nature and his trips to entertain servicemen [that he did not publicize as Bob Hope always did] and the fact that he stood by William Talman [his nemesis Hamilton Burger on Perry Mason] when he was let go by the show due to his participation in a wild, nude party. A readable and entertaining bio.
Verdict: Possibly not the last word on Burr, but not bad. ***.