Raymond Burr - Rotten Tomatoes

Raymond Burr

Highest Rated:   100% Rear Window (1954)
Lowest Rated:   13% Godzilla 1985 (1985)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
In the first ten years of his life, Raymond Burr moved from town to town with his mother, a single parent who supported her little family by playing the organ in movie houses and churches. An unusually large child, he was able to land odd jobs that would normally go to adults. He worked as a ranch hand, a traveling tinted-photograph salesman, a Forest service fire guard, and a property agent in China, where his mother had briefly resettled. At 19, he made the acquaintance of film director Anatole Litvak, who arranged for Burr to get a job at a Toronto summer-stock theater. This led to a stint with a touring English rep company; one of his co-workers, Annette Sutherland, became his first wife. After a brief stint as a nightclub singer in Paris, Burr studied at the Pasadena Playhouse and took adult education courses at Stanford, Columbia, and the University of Chunking. His first New York theatrical break was in the 1943 play Duke in Darkness. That same year, his wife Sutherland was killed in the same plane crash that took the life of actor Leslie Howard. Distraught after the death of his wife, Burr joined the Navy, served two years, then returned to America in the company of his four-year-old son, Michael Evan Burr (Michael would die of leukemia in 1953). Told by Hollywood agents that he was overweight for movies, the 340-pound Burr spent a torturous six months living on 750 calories per day. Emerging at a trim 210 pounds, he landed his first film role, an unbilled bit as Claudette Colbert's dancing partner in Without Reservations (1946). It was in San Quentin (1946), his next film, that Burr found his true metier, as a brooding villain. He spent the next ten years specializing in heavies, menacing everyone from the Marx Brothers (1949's Love Happy) to Clark Gable (1950's Key to the City) to Montgomery Clift (1951's A Place in the Sun) to Natalie Wood (1954's A Cry in the Night). His most celebrated assignments during this period included the role of melancholy wife murderer Lars Thorwald in Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954) and reporter Steve Martin in the English-language scenes of the Japanese monster rally Godzilla (1956), a characterization he'd repeat three decades later in Godzilla 1985. While he worked steadily on radio and television, Burr seemed a poor prospect for series stardom, especially after being rejected for the role of Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke on the grounds that his voice was too big. In 1957, he was tested for the role of district attorney Hamilton Burger in the upcoming TV series Perry Mason. Tired of playing unpleasant secondary roles, Burr agreed to read for Burger only if he was also given a shot at the leading character. Producer Gail Patrick Jackson, who'd been courting such big names as William Holden, Fred MacMurray, and Efrem Zimbalist Jr., agreed to humor Burr by permitting him to test for both Burger and Perry Mason. Upon viewing Burr's test for the latter role, Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner jumped up, pointed at the screen, and cried "That's him!" Burr was cast as Mason on the spot, remaining with the role until the series' cancellation in 1966 and winning three Emmies along the way. Though famous for his intense powers of concentration during working hours -- he didn't simply play Perry Mason, he immersed himself in the role -- Burr nonetheless found time to indulge in endless on-set practical jokes, many of these directed at his co-star and beloved friend, actress Barbara Hale. Less than a year after Mason's demise, Burr was back at work as the wheelchair-bound protagonist of the weekly detective series Ironside, which ran from 1967 to 1975. His later projects included the short-lived TVer Kingston Confidential (1976), a sparkling cameo in Airplane 2: The Sequel (1982), and 26 two-hour Perry Mason specials, lensed between 1986 and 1993. Burr was one of the most liked and highly respected men in Hollywood. Fiercely devoted to his friends and co-workers, Burr would threaten to walk off th

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Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Killer Kiss
  • Actor
1993
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host
  • Perry Mason
1993
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Skin-Deep Scandal
  • Perry Mason
1993
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Heartbroken Bride
  • Perry Mason
1992
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Reckless Romeo
  • Perry Mason
1992
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Framing
  • Perry Mason
1992
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Fashion
  • Perry Mason
1991
44% Delirious
  • Carter
1991
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Glass Coffin
  • Perry Mason
1991
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Maligned Mobster
  • Perry Mason
1991
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Ruthless Reporter
  • Perry Mason
1991
No Score Yet Showdown at Williams Creek
  • Judge Webster
1991
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Defiant Daughter
  • Perry Mason
1990
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Silenced Singer
  • Perry Mason
1990
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Desperate Deception
  • Perry Mason
1990
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Poisoned Pen
  • Perry Mason
1990
No Score Yet The Defense Never Rests
  • Actor
1990
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the All-Star Assassin
  • Perry Mason
1989
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Musical Murder
  • Perry Mason
1989
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Lethal Lesson
  • Perry Mason
1989
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Lady in the Lake
  • Perry Mason
1988
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Avenging Ace
  • Perry Mason
1988
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Scandalous Scoundrel
  • Perry Mason
1987
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Murdered Madam
  • Perry Mason
1987
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Sinister Spirit
  • Perry Mason
1987
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Lost Love
  • Perry Mason
1987
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Shooting Star
  • Perry Mason
1986
No Score Yet Perry Mason: The Case of the Notorious Nun
  • Perry Mason
1986
No Score Yet Perry Mason Returns
  • Perry Mason
1985
13% Godzilla 1985
  • Steve Martin
1985
42% Airplane 2 - The Sequel
  • Judge D.C. Simonton
1982
90% Out of the Blue
  • Brean
1982
No Score Yet Peter and Paul
  • Herod Agrippa I
1981
No Score Yet The Curse of King Tut's Tomb
  • Jonash Sabastian
1980
No Score Yet The Night the City Screamed
  • Actor
1980
No Score Yet The Alien's Return
  • Dr. Kramer
1980
No Score Yet Disaster on the Coastliner
  • Estes Hill
1979
No Score Yet Love's Savage Fury
  • Actor
1979
No Score Yet The Bastard
  • Actor
1978
No Score Yet Tomorrow Never Comes
  • Burke
1978
No Score Yet Centennial
  • Bockweiss
1978
No Score Yet Aliens from Spaceship Earth
  • Actor
1977
No Score Yet The Amazing World of Psychic Phenomena
  • Narrator
1977
No Score Yet Survival of Spaceship Earth
  • Narrator
1972
No Score Yet Desire in the Dust
  • Col. Ben Marquand
1960
No Score Yet Please Murder Me
  • Attorney Craig Carlson
1957
No Score Yet Crime of Passion
  • Inspector Anthony Pope
1957
No Score Yet A Cry in the Night
  • Harold Loftus
1956
No Score Yet Great Day in the Morning
  • Jumbo Means
1956
83% Godzilla, King of the Monsters!
  • Steve Martin
1956
No Score Yet A Man Alone
  • Stanley
1955
No Score Yet You're Never Too Young
  • Noonan
1955
No Score Yet They Were So Young
  • Jaime Coltos
1955
100% Rear Window
  • Mr. Lars Thorwald
1954
No Score Yet Casanova's Big Night
  • Bragadin
1954
No Score Yet Gorilla at Large
  • Cy Miller
1954
No Score Yet Thunder Pass
  • Tulsa
1954
No Score Yet Passion
  • Captain Rodriguez
1954
86% The Blue Gardenia
  • Harry Prebble
1953
No Score Yet Fort Algiers
  • Amir
1953
No Score Yet Tarzan and the She-Devil
  • Vargo
1953
No Score Yet Horizons West
  • Cord Hardin
1952
No Score Yet Meet Danny Wilson
  • Nick Driscoll
1952
No Score Yet Mara Maru
  • Brock Benedict
1952
No Score Yet FBI Girl
  • Blake
1951
No Score Yet The Magic Carpet
  • Boreg
1951
No Score Yet Bride of the Gorilla
  • Barney Chavez
1951
No Score Yet The Whip Hand
  • Steve Loomis
1951
No Score Yet His Kind of Woman
  • Nick Ferraro
1951
75% A Place in the Sun
  • Marlowe
1951
No Score Yet M
  • Pottsy
1951
No Score Yet New Mexico
  • Pvt. Anderson
1951
No Score Yet Love Happy
  • Alphonse Zoto
1950
No Score Yet Borderline
  • Pete Ritchie
1950
No Score Yet Key to the City
  • Les Taggart
1950
No Score Yet Abandoned
  • Kerric
1949
No Score Yet Red Light
  • Nick Cherney
1949
No Score Yet Magia Negra
  • Alexandre Dumas Jr.
1949
No Score Yet Adventures of Don Juan
  • Capt. Alvarez
1948
No Score Yet Station West
  • Mark Bristow
1948
No Score Yet Walk a Crooked Mile
  • Krebs
1948
No Score Yet Fighting Father Dunne
  • Prosecuting Attorney
1948
100% Raw Deal
  • Rick Coyle
1948
No Score Yet Pitfall
  • J.B. MacDonald
1948
No Score Yet Ruthless
  • Pete Vendig
1948
No Score Yet Code of the West
  • Carter
1947
No Score Yet Desperate
  • Walt Radak
1947
No Score Yet Sleep, My Love
  • Lt. Strake
1947
No Score Yet Without Reservations
  • Paul Gill
1946
No Score Yet San Quentin
  • Torrance
1946
No Score Yet Killer Gorilla
  • Actor
1945
No Score Yet Killer Gorilla
  • Actor
1945

Quotes from Raymond Burr's Characters