A Beloved Old Film Celebrity: Raymond Burr Net Worth

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Jul 27, 2019


Raymond Burr Net Worth: $15 Million

Born in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada in May 1917, late Canadian-American actor Raymond Burr had a staggering net worth of $15 million. Burr began his career on Broadway and on radio, television, and film, and was best known for his title roles in the television series Ironside and Perry Mason. He committed to charitable endeavors and worked with the United Service Organizations. Throughout his career he had more than 140 acting credits to his name. From 1957 to 1966 he appeared in the TV series Perry Mason, starring as Perry Mason. He also starred as: Robert T. Ironside in the series Ironside From 1967 to 1975, R.B. Kingston in the series Kingston: Confidential from 1976 to 1977, and Herman Bockweiss in the TV mini-series Centennial in the next two years.

He appeared in a host of films including playing the role of Perry Mason in TV movies. Burr was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 at 6656 Hollywood Blvd. He saw off competitions to win two Primetime Emmy Awards for Perry Mason and was a nominee for two Golden Globe Awards for Ironside. Raymond Burr passed away on September 12, 1993, at the age of 76 from cancer.

Raymond Burr Net Worth: Early Acting Career

While Raymond Burr’s legacy is remembered as successful, he had a rough start. In this section, we will answer what you are searching for on ‘Raymond Burr net worth’ as well as provide important details about his life. Burr certainly had his personal struggles but the person he was is undeniably admirable. 

Burr’s early acting career included roles as a villain on Broadway, radio, television, and in film. His role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Masterpiece, Rear Window, is considered his best-known role in the film. He is also beloved for his role in the 1954 American version of Godzilla, which he later reproduced in the 1984 American version of The Return of Godzilla. In 1959 and 1961, he won two Emmy Awards for playing Perry Mason’s role, which he played for his nine seasons (1957–66) and reprised in a series of 26 Perry Mason TV films (1985–93). His second television series, Ironside, won him six nominations for Emmy and two for Golden Globe. His private life came into question after Burr’s death from cancer in 1993, as many details of his renowned biography seemed unverifiable. In 1996, TV Guide magazine listed Burr as number 44 among the 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time.

Raymond Burr: Early Childhood

His parents divorced when Burr was six. His mom moved him and his siblings to Vallejo, California. He stayed in New Westminster with his dad. Burr graduated from Berkeley High School and attended the San Rafael Military Academy in San Rafael, California for a short time.

Burr freely invented tales about a happy childhood in subsequent years. He created a passion for making stuff and, while still a teenager, joined the Civilian Conservation Corps for a year. He had some acting job throughout his adolescent years, making his stage debut with a Vancouver stock company at the age of 12.

How He Made His Way into Theatre and Movies

Growing up during the Great Depression, he longed to join theatre school that he could not afford. Instead, he joined a group of repertory theater in Toronto in 1934, which toured across Canada, then joined another business that toured India, Australia, and England. He attended Long Beach Junior College for a brief time and trained as a radio actor and singer for a semester at San Jose Junior College. He started his Pasadena Playhouse association in 1937.

In 1940, Burr moved to New York and made his first appearance on Broadway in Crazy With the Heat, a two-act musical review by Kurt Kasznar that rapidly folded. He came back to the Broadway stage for The Duke in Darkness (1944) by Patrick Hamilton, a psychological drama set during the French Religious Wars. A contract with RKO Radio Pictures led to Burr’s performance as the faithful friend of the incarcerated protagonist.

Between 1946 and 1957, Film Burr appeared in over 50 feature films, generating an array of villains that made him an icon of film noir. 

Raymond Burr on His Struggles with Weight and Casting

“I was just a heavy fat,” James Bawden told Burr. “We both played much older men in our twenties. I never got the girl, but I once got the gorilla in a 3D picture called Gorilla at Large. I threatened Claudette Colbert, Lizabeth Scott, Paulette Goddard, Anne Baxter, Barbara Stanwyck. Those girls would take a look at me and scream, and can you blame them? “But in radio, because of the splendid quality of his voice, this posed no issues,” noted The Globe and Mail. “He performed romantic leads and threatened villains with equal power, earning a constant and comfortable revenue.”

Becoming a Star

 Burr has been a major player on the West Coast, working continuously on the radio since the 1940s, often unnoticed. He had a regular position in the first radio series of Jack Webb, Pat Novak for Hire (1949), and played Joe Friday’s boss, Ed Backstrand, detective chief, in Dragnet (1949–50). Burr also worked on Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, Family Theater, Hallmark Playhouse, and Hallmark Hall of Fame. He conducted in five episodes of the CBS Radio Workshop series of experimental dramatic radio anthology and played his greatest radio part in “The Silent Witness” (1957), where his voice is the only voice.

Burr was the star of Fort Laramie from CBS Radio in 1956, an adult Western drama produced, written and directed by Gunsmoke’s creators. On the show, he played Lee Quince, a calvary captain after the Civil War ended. The half-hour program transcribed aired on Sundays at 5:30 p.m. ET. Burr informed columnist Sheilah Graham that after the first broadcasts he had received 1,500 fan letters, and he continued to receive letters praising the authenticity and human dignity presentation of the show. Burr also appeared in 1956 in the American adaptation of the Japanese film Godzilla (film of 1954); the American film of 1956, Godzilla, King of the Monsters! Tried to splice Burr’s scenes into the initial Japanese movie.

The Evolution of Perry Mason: Raymond Burr’s Most Famous Role

CBS announced in August 1956 that Burr would be starring in the television series Perry Mason.[36] Although the network also wished Burr to continue working on Fort Laramie, the television series needed an exceptional dedication, and the radio show finished. Known for his allegiance and historical awareness, Burr walked out of his manner in his television programs to hire his radio colleagues. Over the first season alone, some 180 radio celebrities appeared on Perry Mason.

In 1956, Burr auditioned a new CBS-TV court drama based on Erle Stanley Gardner’s hugely successful novels for the role of District Attorney Hamilton Burger in Perry Mason. Impressed with his performance in court in the 1951 film A Place in the Sun, executive producer Gail Patrick Jackson informed Burr that he was ideal for Perry Mason, but that he was overweight for at least 60 pounds. Burr went on a crash diet in the next month. He studied as Perry Mason when he came back and won the part. 

From 1957 to 1966, the series ran. For his performance as Perry Mason, Burr earned three consecutive nominations for the Emmy Award and won the award in 1959 and 1961. Since then, the series has been rerun in syndication and published on DVD from 2006 to 2013. Although it is often said that Burr’s character never lost a case, he lost two murder cases— offscreen— in the series ‘ early episodes.


Burr transferred from CBS to Universal Studios, where he played the title role in the Ironside TV drama that ran on NBC from 1967 to 1975. In the pilot episode, Robert T. Ironside, Detective Chief of San Francisco, is injured by a sniper during an assault on his life. After his recovery, he utilizes a mobility wheelchair in the first crime drama series to star a disabled police officer. The show won six nominations for Burr Emmy — one for the pilot and five for his series work — and two nominations for the Golden Globe.

Other Series 

NBC failed in two efforts to launch Burr as the star of a new series after Ironside came off the air. Mallory: Circumstantial Evidence aired again in February 1976 with Burr in the role of the lawyer who outwits the district attorney in a two-hour television film format. The critical reception was poor despite excellent reviews for Burr, and NBC chose not to turn it into a series.

Burr starred in 1977 in Kingston’s short-lived TV series: Confidential as R.B. Kingston, a publishing magnate from William Randolph Hearst-Esque, owner of countless journals and TV stations, who solved crimes with a group of staff in his spare moment. It was a critical failure planned against the extraordinarily famous Angels of Charlie. After 13 weeks, it was canceled. In 1985, Burr he starred in Perry Mason Returns, by producers Dean Hargrove and Fred Silverman. He was requested to replay the part he performed in Godzilla, King of the Monsters, the same week, Burr recalled! (1956), in Godzilla 1985 in a low-budget film.

 While Burr is best remembered for his role as Perry Mason, a dedicated follower remains to recognize him as the actor who introduced the Godzilla series to America. He agreed to do the Mason film if Barbara Hale came back as Della Street to replace her part. Hale agreed, and her protagonist became the defendant when Perry Mason Returns aired on December 1985. The rest of the main cast had died, but Paul Drake, Jr, played the role of Hale’s real-life son William Katt. The film was so effective that before his death Burr produced a total of 26 Perry Mason TV movies. In and around Denver, Colorado, many were filmed.

He signed with NBC for more Mason movies, but by 1993, due to his poor health, he used a full-time wheelchair. Before Burr’s death, twelve more Mason films were planned, including one scheduled to film the month he died.

Burr decided to do an Ironside reunion film as he had with the Perry Mason TV movies. The Ironside Return aired on May 1993, bringing together the entire initial cast of the series 1967–75. It was set and filmed in Denver like many of the Mason films. Burr said he weighed 12.75 pounds at birth and was chubby throughout his childhood, personal life physical qualities. “You’re just persecuted something terrible when you’re a little fat kid in public school or any kind of college,” he recalled.

A Short-Lived Marriage

The weight of Burr, always a problem for him in getting roles, became a public relations issue when Johnny Carson started making jokes about him during his monologs of the Tonight Show. From then on, Burr refused to appear as Carson’s guest on January 10, 1948, as a student at the Pasadena Playhouse (1940) Burr married actress Isabella Ward (1919–2004). They met in 1943 at the Pasadena Playhouse, where Burr was teaching, while Ward was a student. They met again when Ward was with a short-lived theater business in California in 1947. Shortly before Burr started working on the 1948 film noir, Pitfall, they were married. They appeared together on stage in May 1948 in a production of Pasadena Playhouse based on Paul Gauguin’s life. The pair lived in a cellar apartment in a big Hollywood house shared by Burr with his mom and grandparents. Within months, the marriage finished, and Ward returned to her indigenous Delaware. They divorced and did not remarry in 1952.

How Burr Met His Love, Robert Benevides

Burr met his love Robert Benevides on the Perry Mason set way back in 1960. They quickly became a couple, Benevides says. In 1963, Benevides gave up acting and later became a manufacturing advisor for 21 Perry Mason TV films. In California’s Dry Creek Valley, they owned and operated an orchid company and then a vineyard. They have been partners until the death of Burr in 1993. Burr relegated his entire estate to Benevides, including’ all my jewelry, clothes, books, artworks… and other objects of a private nature.  In 2017, the property was sold. 

His Reputation in Hollywood was Admirable

Burr had a reputation in Hollywood before much of his more visible philanthropic job as a thoughtful, generous person years ago. In 1960, Ray Collins, who depicted Lt. Arthur Tragg on the initial Perry Mason series, and who at that moment was often sick and unable to remember all the lines he was expected to talk, said, “There’s nothing but kindness from our star, Ray Burr. Part of his life is devoted to us, and that’s no bull. If there’s anything with any of us, he’s coming before anyone else, and he’s doing w. A Viacom spokesman informed the media that the disease could be linked to the carcinoma of the renal cell (malignant kidney virus) that Burr had removed that February. Cancer spread to his liver and was inoperable at that stage. Before his death on September 12, 1993, Burr threw several “goodbye parties” at his Sonoma County ranch close Healdsburg. He was age 76.

American Bar Association Chairman R. The day after Burr’s death. William Ide III issued a declaration: “Raymond Burr’s portrayals of Perry Mason depicted attorneys in a professional and dignified way… Mr. Burr sought such authenticity in his characteristics of the courtroom that we consider his passing as if we were losing one of our own.”  At Fraser Cemetery, New Westminster, British Columbia, Burr was buried with his relatives. On October 1, 1993, at a personal memorial service at the Pasadena Playhouse, about 600 family members and friends paid homage to Burr.

Burr’s Homosexuality

Although during his lifetime, Burr had not disclosed his homosexuality, it was an open secret and was reported after his death in the media. Everyone wondered if he really was gay or if it were just rumors. Biographer Michael Starr wrote of the “wild tales about Raymond’s personal life spiced up with quotes from unknown’ buddies’ who outlined his close homosexual lifestyle in an almost cartoonish manner. 

Burr left his property to Robert Benevides, excluding all siblings, including a daughter, nieces, and nephews. His will was questioned by his late brother’s two kids, James E. Burr, without achievement. Benevides ‘ lawyer said that there was an overestimation of tabloid accounts of a $32 million property.

Awards and Accolades

Burr was awarded a star at 6656 Hollywood Boulevard on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. For his job in the Ironside TV series, Burr got six nominations from Emmy (1968–72). In 1969 and 1972, he was nominated twice for Best Actor–Television Series Drama’s Golden Globe Award. A patron of legal education, in June 1973, Burr was the main speaker at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s founders ‘ banquet in Lansing, Michigan. In his honor was created the Raymond Burr Award for Criminal Law Excellence. In 1996, Burr was ranked #44 on the 50 Greatest All-Time TV Stars of the TV Guide.


A circular garden completed in 1996 at the entrance to Sanibel, Florida’s Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum honors Burr for his role in creating the museum. Burr was an early supporter and trustee who chaired the first investment campaign of the museum and made direct donations from his collection. In 2012, a display of Burr as an actor, benefactor, and collector was opened in the Great Shells Hall of the museum.

The Raymond Burr Performing Arts Society rented New Westminster’s historic Columbia Theater from 2000 to 2006 and renamed it the Raymond Burr Performing Arts Centre. Although the non-profit organization hoped to raise resources to restore and expand the venue, there was no renewal of its agreement. When the theater was sold in 2011, the group was a failed bidder.

Raymond Burr’s Lasting Legacy

In 2008, in its “Canadians in Hollywood” series featuring Burr, Canada Post released a postage stamp. He was awarded the Canadian Legends Award in 2009 and a star at the Toronto Walk of Fame in Canada. The ceremony of induction took place on September 12, 2009. A 2014 paper in The Atlantic that examined how Netflix classified nearly 77,000 distinct custom genres discovered that Netflix consumers classified Burr as the favorite actor with the largest amount of devoted microgenres.

Do you have any additional details on Raymond Burr’s life that you would like to share? Feel free to leave a comment for us blow. Don’t forget to check out other fun articles on celebrity net worth.


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