Raymond Burr's Perry Mason regrets

Even Burr second-guessed his path.

Perspective: It's one of the hardest things to actually attain in life. It evades many, and those with it can't usually share it. It is only one who has climbed the mountain that truly understands how high its pinnacle reaches. Yet we value so many characteristics more than we do perspective. It's a wisdom that is taken for granted when we see it in passing.

The one thing Raymond Burr had more of than perspective was probably orchids. The man is responsible for hybridizing and cultivating 1,500 new species of orchid and is credited for introducing each into the worldwide catalog. Following his successes in Perry Mason and Ironside, Burr established several nurseries throughout different parts of the world. He even purchased an island in 1965, retreating from the Hollywood hustle and bustle to a new home in Fiji. Maybe stepping outside of the L.A. enclave afforded Burr such perspective, as he was candid later in life regarding his career and the way fame affected his life.

In a 1993 obituary, the Birmingham Post-Herald reprinted some Burr quotes. He spoke about Perry Mason and what made the show special. But he also had a few words regarding his misspent time. 

"I should have been helping raise a family," said Burr. The actor was married three times. "I did none of those things. I should have maintained closer friendships with some of my friends — I didn't do that. I should have maintained more contact with the world — I was not able to do that." 

Even the winningest lawyer in television history wished he could've spent more time with family. Burr's only child, a son, died of leukemia in 1953. 

It's important to note that while Burr did express some dismay, he did enjoy Perry Mason and understood why people connected with it. "It's the audience's dream," said Burr. "You have justice in the system." 

Perspective is critical, and for some, it doesn't come until it's too late to use. We can't control the things we're dealt in life. But, we can practice how we react, and we can strive toward a healthy attitude and point of view. 

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38 Comments

SandraWoosley 1 month ago
True Raymond Burr fans like myself know the true facts of his life story, and this article is not it. That said, no one will ever be Perry Mason in my eyes but Raymond Burr. I also enjoyed his Ironside series and the roles in had in movies. The man was a very talented actor and deserves high praise for that. Obviously, he had other talents too, witness his skill with orchids. I'm just sorry that he lived in an era where he felt he couldn't be totally authentic to who he was or risk losing his profession.
George58 1 month ago
I love the "Perry Mason" show. One of the best TV shows out there. I agree with one of the comments that Raymond's sexual preferences should not be the focus on his life but rather the excellent acting he did & the characters he portrayed. R.I.P. Raymond. And, since this is a Perry Mason forum, I'll repeat what I stated in other comments. Bring back the Perry Mason TV Movies for Sunday night and get rid of that awful "All In The Family" show. It sucks & I don't find it funny. How anyone can say that Jean Stapleton's annoying voice on that show is entertaining is beyond Me???
JJ614 George58 1 month ago
1701% AGREE!!!! HATE AITF. Since it premiered. LOVE Perry Mason Movies. We were cheated of a full repeat of the Sunday night movies that I had so looked forward to.
Wiseguy70005 JJ614 1 month ago
Buy the all-in-one DVD set.
Skymkw123 1 month ago
There are many incorrect information/stories regarding Raymond Burr. First, the story about his non-existent marriages and son was done by the studios not Raymond. However, he never denied or told this secret as in most interviews he refused to speak about his personal life. However, in the one and only interview that his ex-wife Isabella Ward did and only did after he passed away she confirmed that these stories were a product of the studios. I actually have the magazine with her interview including pictures. She/they lived together for 6 months and according to her all was perfect for those 6 months. In my opinion from reading her interview she never remarried because she still loved Raymond. I have read from other biographies( by the actual person) of Raymond Burr having intimate times with women before he decided to stay with Robert. One actress in particular is Jeanne Cooper( young and restless) and her book. The books that tell more of the actual facts regarding Raymond are the Amazon books by Brian Mcfadden whom actually interviewed Raymond Burr and recorded it also. His books also reveal more regarding Barbara Hale. My favorite of his 4 books are Remembering Perry Mason with Raymond Burr and Becoming Della Street regarding Barbara Hale. As with all of us there are things we don't always give the whole story as they aren't really anyone's business but ours. Raymond was an awesome actor, generous friend to as many people/charities as he could, Helping many other actors/actresses as he caused many of whom he did movies with to get a role on the original Perry Mason when they couldn't get another role/job. This should be talked about more than his sexual preference in my opinion.
RubyJuly Skymkw123 1 month ago
So, the story of the son who died is made up as well? That's horrible. The studios were relentless in their attempts to mold their stars into what THEY wanted. Obviously during the 1960s it would have been unthinkable for him to come out. But so many people around him knew and simply accepted him for the talented, generous, kind friend he was. I love watching Perry Mason and will always be a fan of Raymond Burr.
LynCarrigan 1 month ago
Hope Raymond Burr had some happiness with his partner and orchids. He certainly contributed to the entertainment world.
CaptainDunsel 1 month ago
"The man is responsible for hybridizing and cultivating 1,500 new species of orchid..."
At first pass that sounds a little exaggerated. But there are some 28,000 species cataloged, so maybe.

Anyway, given his fascination with orchids, it's kind of surprising he never assayed the role of Nero Wolfe.
MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
I heard he cooked up the dead wife and son to make it appear he had been married.
Are you saying he was a cannibal...LOL!
Sway MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
Yah, this story needs some fact checking
Coldnorth MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
Scared me for a second. 🤓🤓🤓🤓🤓🤓
Snickers 1 month ago
Raymond Burr was Gay? Wow that's something I didn't know.
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Bethois BorisK 1 month ago
So you are messing with people's lives, stating what you just said as facts, and none of these people (may they rest in peace) are around to retort in any way, shape or form.
You state this "information" as factual all-so-casually, and it is really none of anyone's business. It doesn't change how wonderful they were as actors and comedians--nor does it change how loving and wonderful they might have been as well...it simply focuses on something that is obviously titillating to you.
You could not be "known as gay in the 40s-50s"--not because it was a "career-killer" but because it was illegal and considered immoral and people who were publicly called out as homosexuals were tormented and unable to live lives of any kind of normality (much less be put in prison).
musicman37 Bethois 1 month ago
Oh, come now. The fact that the above named stars were gay is well known, and the fact that they "aren't around to retort in any way shape or form" doesn't change the facts. Anyway, what's wrong with being gay? Many of the most creative people in history were (especially actors and actresses), and they lived full lives.
Bethois musicman37 1 month ago
You are completely missing what I meant and what I stated, by picking out only what you wanted to read. Oh, well.
Coldnorth musicman37 1 month ago
I say love who you love. So many judges out there. I’m not gay but know many. All they want is to live their lives in peace. I do have one pet peeve tho. Some show way too much PDA, a kiss, hug, squeeze is fine but not sloppy in your face stuff. But then again I don’t care for overboard straight PDA. Watch the tv commercials, women shavers that show how and where to shave bothers me more than knowing Raymond burr was gay
Runeshaper 1 month ago
Sounds like he had some regrets, but realizing them and providing advice to others is helpful.
justjeff 1 month ago
MeTV writers are playing fast and loose with the facts regarding raymond Burr's personal life.

This from an ABC News article from May 26, 2008:

"Burr invented a biography for himself that included a wife and son who'd died, and used his busy schedule as a way to explain why he wasn't married. But Burr and his partner, Robert Benevides, had a relationship for 35 years that was secret to most of the world except for a handful of close friends."
justjeff justjeff 1 month ago
Here's the link to the whole story:

https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Books/story?id=4930725&page=1#:~:text=Burr%20invented%20a%20biography%20for,a%20handful%20of%20close%20friends.
cperrynaples justjeff 1 month ago
Yep, that's true! There's a biography which tells the true story of Burr's gay life!
Zip justjeff 1 month ago
Unless Raymond was telling the truth and ABC was lying.

Nah, ABC would never lie about anything, would they?!
justjeff Zip 1 month ago
I'm not going to get into a political discourse about news media... I'll just stick with the entertainment stories... they're *much* safer to talk about...
RubyJuly justjeff 1 month ago
I'm very disappointed that MeTV would post such blatantly incorrect information. They should remove this post and make sure their (obviously uninformed) media managerws fact check more thoroughly!
justjeff RubyJuly 1 month ago
Not that I regularly defend the MeTV writers' inconsistencies, but sometimes the outside stories they gather from disseminate false or questionable information and they take it as "correct". However, they still should use due diligence to ensure *their* sources have corrolated the facts properly...
Coldnorth justjeff 1 month ago
I don’t know about that, seen some entertainment arguments in here sometimes lol
BorisK 1 month ago
Married 3 times, but Ray was gay.
Bapa1 BorisK 1 month ago
"Sustained!"
Alicekat BorisK 1 month ago
Objection, Your Honor! That statement is incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial!
AgingDisgracefully 1 month ago
Now THAT was close to interesting.
Fernwood 2Tonight line via Martin Mull!
True. But I presumed it was now in the Public Domain. Like The Life of Burr.
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