In his signature roles, Raymond Burr usually played someone who has some authority himself and stands tall. Think about Perry Mason, probably Burr’s most recognized character. When Mason got up in a courtroom, his size would force people to watch him from all over the place. For Burr, he believed that his size was a good thing.
Burr talked about it in an interview with the Leicester Chronicle. In real life, Burr stood over six feet tall. “I find my size helps,” Burr said according to MeTV. But Burr also played Chief Robert Ironside in Ironside on NBC. In that role, Chief Ironside was shot and left paralyzed.
For his part, Burr admitted there was a lot of sitting in a wheelchair going on. Burr said, “I’m not a good sitter. At my size, you are at your best vertical or horizontal. So when I sit, I straighten my back and pull myself high in a chair. I find, then, that most people tend to agree with what I say.”
Appearances, though, aren’t everything. The legendary actor later described himself as having “confidence but very little ego.”
Raymond Burr Turned Into Human Pogo Stick on ‘Jack Benny Program’
Burr let his humorous side simply show a lot. In one instance, he appeared on The Jack Benny Program, pretty much playing a Mason-like lawyer defending Benny in a court case. While “helping” Jack out in a case, Burr overexaggerated his courtroom phrases and mannerisms. At one point in the show, Burr could be seen jumping up and down while Jack tried to reel him in.
Just imagine seeing a 6-foot-plus man jumping around like a pogo stick! That was Burr in this episode. Oh, he had a very healthy sense of humor. Practical jokes were his middle name. To keep everyone happy and chill on the set of Perry Mason, Burr would crank up the laughter. Maybe his size and ability to relate to others so well all helped Raymond Burr be successful.
There’s another side to Burr, too. “I’m a punctual person because I hate to keep others waiting or complicate their lives. About the only thing which gets me really mad is when people don’t turn up at the promised time.”
The actor did his best to balance out life and work. “I won’t be a slave to the clock — that way you are so keen on keeping to the daily ritual that you miss sunsets and dawns and the beautiful things around,” he said.
If you want to catch a Perry Mason episode, then they air weekdays and weeknights on MeTV. Pluto TV has its own Perry Mason Channel, where they never stop running episodes.
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