Raymond Burr


  1. Conrad Veidt, Casablanca, 1941.

  2. Edward G Robinson, The Ten Commandments,1954.
  3. Jim Backus, Rebel Without A Cause, 1955.   “Look, Jim. You can depend on me. Trust me. Whatever comes, we’ll, we’ll fix it together. I swear it.”  Yeah, sure… James Dean’s milquetoast father was a battle between Backus, Raymond Burr, Rod Cameron, Hume Cronyn, John Dehner and Walter Mathau – difficult to imagine  Matthau as a wimp!  Backus taught his Mr Magoo cartoon voice to Dean, who used it in  his  line about children: “Drown ’em like puppies, eh?”  Director Sidney Lumet had launched James Dean, Sal Mineo  and Paul Newman (a Jim Stark candidate) in his  New York TV shows.

  4. Robert Strauss, The Man With The Golden Arm, 1955.    Buying the rights from John Garfield’s estate, producer-director Otto Preminger defied the Production Code and made a film – not only daring to mention the word “drugs” but dealing with addiction. He was then  reportedly “torn” between two Rays  – Burr and Middleton –  for Frank Sinatra’s boss,  Zero Schwiefka.  Then, apparently, Billy Wilder had a word with his fellow Austrian about how good Strauss was in his  Stalag 17 and The Seven Year Itch.

  5. James Arness, Gunsmoke, TV, 1955-1975.     About  26 actors tested as Marshal   Matt Dillon. Like the similarly bulky William Conrad, Burr sounded great, but according to producer-director Charles Marquis Warren, or was way too fat.  “When he stood up, his chair stood up with him.”  Burr lost considerable weight to play Perry Mason

  6. William Talman, Perry Mason, TV, 1957-1966.      Burr was up for DA Hamilton Burger  or…
  7. William Hopper, Perry Mason, TV, 1957-1966.    …or Mason’s PI Paul Drake before being given the top spot, Perry, himself .  For some 301 cases in tele-series and tele-films up to his  death.  
  8. Liam Redmond, The Long Haul, 1957. Just as Brando and Robert Mitchum were up for the lead in the trucking thriller, Raymond Burr had been an early thought  for what became Liam Redmond’s role.  The UK film was co-produced by a certain Cubby Broccoli.


 Birth year: 1917Death year: 1993Other name: Casting Calls:  8