Raymond William Stacey Burr was a Canadian-born actor, primarily known for his title roles in the television dramas Perry Mason and Ironside. His early acting career included roles on Broadway, radio, television and in film, usually as the villain. He won two Emmy Awards for the role of Perry Mason, which he played for nine seasons between 1957 and 1966. His second hit series, Ironside, earned him six Emmy nominations, and two Golden Globe nominations.
In addition to acting, Burr owned an orchid business and had begun to grow a vineyard. He was a collector of wines and art, and was fond of cooking.
After his death from cancer in 1993, Burr’s personal life came into question as details of his known biography appeared to be unverifiable. Gradually, it was revealed that Burr had possibly contrived a life story that hid his homosexuality.
He was born Raymond William Stacey Burr in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada to William Johnston Burr, an Irish hardware salesman, and his wife Minerva, a concert pianist and music teacher. Burr spent part of his childhood in China, where his father worked as a trade agent. After his parents divorced, Burr moved to Vallejo, California with his mother and younger siblings, Geraldine and James Edmond. He a attended military junior high school, but dropped out. Burr said that he never attended high school, but did attend Long Beach Junior College and took courses from Stanford and The University of California.