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Hiding in Plain Sight: The Secret Life of Raymond Burr

Hiding in Plain Sight The Secret Life of Raymond Burr The complete story of the actor s career including his secret gay life Raymond Burr was an enigma A film noir star regularly known for his villainous roles in movies like Rear Window he de

  • Title: Hiding in Plain Sight: The Secret Life of Raymond Burr
  • Author: Michael Seth Starr
  • ISBN: 9781557836946
  • Page: 251
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The complete story of the actor s career, including his secret gay life Raymond Burr 1917 1993 was an enigma A film noir star regularly known for his villainous roles in movies like Rear Window, he delighted millions of viewers each week with the top rated shows Perry Mason and Ironside, which ran virtually uninterrupted for 20 years But Burr was leading a secret gayThe complete story of the actor s career, including his secret gay life Raymond Burr 1917 1993 was an enigma A film noir star regularly known for his villainous roles in movies like Rear Window, he delighted millions of viewers each week with the top rated shows Perry Mason and Ironside, which ran virtually uninterrupted for 20 years But Burr was leading a secret gay life at a time in Hollywood when such a lifestyle was akin to career suicide He invented a tragic biography for himself in which he was mythologized as a heartbroken husband and father There was even an invented affair with a teenage Natalie Wood, 21 years his junior He fought for truth as Perry Mason and Robert T Ironside, yet he couldn t admit his own deception Burr met his partner, struggling actor Robert Benevides, on the set of Perry Mason, and they remained together for over 35 years until Burr s death Together, they built a business empire, traveled the world, and shared their passion for orchids and fine wine keeping the true nature of their relationship a secret from all but their closest friends a secret revealed here for the first time in depth.

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    1 thought on “Hiding in Plain Sight: The Secret Life of Raymond Burr

    1. Whenever ink was set to paper in the popular press during actor Raymond Burr's lifetime -- for the purpose of telling anything about his life -- two things were true: that there was ink, and there was paper. Burr's life on paper was almost as total a lie as could possibly exist. In this biography of the famed TV and movie actor, Burr -- star of the long-running series Perry Mason and villainous character actor in films such as Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window and Anthony Mann's Raw Deal -- Michael [...]

    2. I knew nothing about Raymond Burr and only picked up this biography because the author was signing free copies of it at the book expo, and the book's blurb piqued my interest by noting its focus on his secret life as a closeted gay man. There is no way I would have read it otherwise (it may be the only biography on my entire reading list), but I really enjoyed the book and devoured it in three days.Knowing so little about Burr, the book read almost like a novel for me in which I looked forward t [...]

    3. Very good biography on a very, very private public figure. Interesting that it took this long for information to come out on him. I am a little puzzled that his homosexuality took so long to become public knowledge, according to this book. I've known about it for sometime, since I'm a Bette Davis fan, and have read every book on her (they all tend to run together after a while, but I find it interesting on how biographers handle the exact same material). Davis was very good friends with Burr (wh [...]

    4. very disappointed.poorly written and a confusing mishmash of film summaries and authorial judgemente author does not even attempt to understand his subject or offer any thoughtful analysis. We never really get an idea of whether Burr evolved in his thinking about the Vietnam war. On the one hand the author tells us of Burr's support of the troops and his support of escalating the war effort, and than we learn he wanted the war to end; and in addition he wanted to work on tv projects to promote w [...]

    5. This was an interesting, well-written and quick read. It’s not the definitive biography I would have liked to read, but it doesn’t profess to be. For what it is, it provides a quick, if incomplete, overview of Burr’s life.

    6. I remember sitting in the living room with my parents and sister the late fifties and early sixties many Saturday nights watching Perry Mason. This biography recalls that time and provides an excellent overview of an actor who became one of the most popular TV stars of that era. Even before that he scored success in films like Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, albeit as the heavy rather than the hero. Michael Seth Starr goes beyond Burr's acting persona to explore his secret personal life as one o [...]

    7. Having grown up with Perry Mason, my husband recommended I read this (he read it too). Could have been shortened, but it's a very quick read. Interesting look at how gay actors had to hide themselves and how the press didn't question things. Very interesting.

    8. As I read this, I kept wondering when the author would get to the point. He never did. The first half of the book was a mishmash and almost impossible to decipher the chronology; even his filmography was confusing. . I started to ask, is this a biography or something else? When I picked it up, I was expecting to learn about "The Secret Life of Raymond Burr". In the end, his life was still a secret. What comes out of this that Raymond Burr was so good at hiding in plain sight, if hiding he was, t [...]

    9. The book is an enlightening view into the life of movie and TV icon, Raymond Burr,(1917-1993). Researched by veteran biographer, Michael Seth Starr, the author takes you on a behind the scene look at the Canadian-born actor of Irish heritage, Raymond William Stacy Burr, who would become TV's PERRY MASON and IRONSIDES, an actor in over 65 movies, in 2 productions on Broadway, and a voice on the radio in 5 major broadcasted shows.Burr was a film noir regular known for his villainous roles in movie [...]

    10. So I’m standing at the circ. desk talking to a coworker and as I’m checking in this book I ask aloud, “Raymond Burr had a secret life? Like what, he was a spy?”My coworker replied with, “No, he was gay.”“He was not!”“Well, that’s what that book is about.”“Perry Mason? gay? No way.”“Read the jacket cover.”And sure enough the jacket cover told of Mr. Burr’s lies about his personal life and that he was gay. So I checked the book out in hopes it would be interesting i [...]

    11. This was an interesting and provocative book about the actor best known for playing the ace defense attorney Perry Mason for 9 years on television from 1957-1966, as well as some made-for-TV movies reprising the role in the late 80s and early 90s. Burr also had another long-running TV series, Ironside, that began in the fall of 1967 and lasted almost as long as "Perry Mason" did. He made a number of movies earlier in his career, mainly playing a gangster or other kind of bad guy. Two of his best [...]

    12. Okay, I'll admit it, I'm a gossip whore. I love to read Hollywood biographies about deceased celebrities, because it is only after they are dead that the really good dirt comes out about them. Hiding In Plain Sight touts itself as revealing the secret life of Raymond Burr. Of course, we all know now that Burr was gay and the book does touch on that subject a bit and his 35 years with partner Robert Benevides, but does not discuss much of that. We never discover how he and Robert met, what their [...]

    13. I enjoyed this book quite a bit and until I decided to read it I had no idea that burr was gay and I dont care. The book doesnt go too deep into his family which I appreciated. The summarizing and dialogue of his movies I found to be unnecessary and boring. i found the stuff about Burr sponsoring children and the trips he made to VietNam to visit troups heart-warming even though I thought the author's tone was at times patronizing. The author didnt seem to hold Burr in high regard and the contin [...]

    14. I adore Raymond Burr & his work. Perry Mason is one of my all-time favorite shows. As a straight woman, I was disappointed to find out Ray didn't like girls, but anything biographical written about him is of interest to me. This book was not well-written (add Michael Seth Starr to the long list of cliche kings; every chapter title was a stale cliche), & it didn't tell me much I didn't already know. But I enjoyed reading about Ray's life (although I found it to be quite sad). The author ( [...]

    15. I'm old enough to remember when "Perry Mason" first aired back in the 50s, and although I've been a fan of Raymond Burr's movies and other television appearances, I knew little about his life. But after reading Michael Seth biography of Burr, even those who thought they did know Burr really didn't. It's sad that this fine actor and generous man needed to invent a life different from reality but so he did. But the story of Raymond Burr's life is more than the stories he told. It is the story of a [...]

    16. The most boring Hollywood biography ever. I was expecting a dishy, entertaining biography but instead the author gave the reader a boring recitation of facts about Raymond Burr. The writing style is strangely passive and lifeless. Robotic even. Here's a quote from the book "Burr did forge one important alliance in Pasadena. With money scarce, he earned some extra dough working side jobs, including laying bricks at the Ivar House, a popular restaurant in Hollywood" I could barely keep my eyes ope [...]

    17. "Hiding in Plain Sight: The Secret Life of Raymond Burr" is a fascinating look at one of the icons from my childhood. Perry Mason is one of my favorite characters, and getting this background information on the man who brought that character to life for so many years adds a whole new dimension to the series. Though the writing is at times quite pedestrian, the pictures add to a fuller understanding of the man who started as a heavy in the movies (think "Rear Window") and finished as a heavyweigh [...]

    18. We watched a lot of Perry Mason when I was growing up. It's still one of my favorite late night TV treats. I had no idea what a strange-o Raymond Burr was! He made up all kinds of lies about himself - easily refutable facts, like CHILDREN - but no one ever called him on them. Obviously, as a gay man living with his openly gay lover in conservative 1950s America, he was going to put up some false fronts, but his lying went well beyond the necessary. Worthwhile reading for any fans of the show - t [...]

    19. Linda says: Baby Boomers should remember Raymond Burr in Perry Mason in the 1950s. I do, and still watch the reruns.This biography tells about the private man and his secrets he carried to his death in 1993. Most people remember some story about Raymond Burr, like him losing a child to Lukemia. Well, this and other stories about him are all lies. This is a great read. You just won't want to put it down.

    20. A very readable, if somewhat repetitive, biography of one of TV's biggest stars. Burr went to great lengths to hide the fact that he was gay and living with his partner which makes it difficult to uncover the truth in much detail. And that's where this biography falls short. You don't learn a lot about Burr and there's no real attempt at getting to know Burr aside from the scant biographical details that the author has uncovered.

    21. Bad, terrible biographical work.The book is a -style list of Burr's cinema and TV works peppered every now and then with some hints about his life as a gay man and his love partners.No research, no new information, no insight, not a word on what, where, who, when or why.If your pretense is to tell about somebody's "secret life", then do it or just keep quiet!

    22. I like watching Raymond Burr in most shows/movies. He was a good actor and I was happy to find a fairly recent biography of him. I was really disappointed in this book. The book lacked detail, and Starr gets very repetitive. He seems to think the reader can't remember what was written 10 pages ago.

    23. Being a Raymond Burr fan, I found it unsettling. The criticism was slighted a bit. Whether he was gay or not should not have been the definition of his character. The book places emphasis on his sexuality rather than his accomplishments. It does mention the Raymond Burr Vineyards and how the idea originated between friends.Bridget Turner, Adult Services

    24. Although I'm not a fan of celebrities' biographies, occasionally one falls off the shelf at me. Starr's book is workman-like, a real story if lacking in depth and analysis, not one of those unbelievable puff pieces, properly written for the most part and - thank heaven - not at all salacious.

    25. Riveting story about a fascinating man.I still love Perry Mason and Ironside reruns! Raymond Burr was larger than life in more ways than one. It was fun to read this no holds barred book. Good job!

    26. Raymond Burr is one of those actors that was lucky enough to star in two successful, long-running TV shows--"Perry Mason" and "Ironside." As a TV icon, his story becomes a must-read. I loved this book and learning about the private life and public career of a great Hollywood star.

    27. Sadly boring, this could have been much more interesting. He led quite a fascinating life and was so admired. Most about him is touched upon, there is no discovery, there is no excitement. Alas, a disappointment whereas Perry Mason and Robert Ironside were not.

    28. A biography of someone who was interesting written by someone who didn't have a clue as to WHY that person was interesting. A sadly lost opportunity to talk about a LOT of things happening from 1940-1990 that explain why he was so popular and how his private tensions fueled that.

    29. Interesting little read. I love watching the old Perry Mason series. Raymond Burr was the perfect actor for that part. You always know he will win the case, but you still love to watch him work!

    30. I was very disappointed in this book. It was mostly a chronicle of his career and very little about his private life.

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