This is one guy that is legendary throughout the whole kaiju universe. Though he isn’t just known in that role, I believe this is where he gained his start in his movie/TV career. So let’s get this personal bio started! Introducing the name of Raymond Burr! As per usual, I am an amazon affiliate
(Apologies for this late post)
A start in theater
Born May 21st in 1917 Raymond’s life was filled with interesting events. Originally hailing from New Westminster, British Columbia. When he was six his parents had a divorce which leads him and his siblings to live with their mother who moved to Vallejo, California. “While” his father remained in New Westminster. Burr briefly attended San Rafael Military Academy in San Rafael, California, and graduated from Berkeley High School. In later years, Burr freely invented stories of a happy childhood. In 1986, he told journalist Jane Ardmore that, when he was 12 years old, his mother sent him to New Mexico for a year to work as a ranch hand.
He was already his full adult height and rather large and “had fallen in with a group of college-aged kids who didn’t realize how young Raymond was, and they let him tag along with them in activities and situations far too sophisticated for him to handle”. He developed a passion for growing things and joined the Civilian Conservation Corps for a year in his teens. He did some acting work in his teen years, making his stage debut at age 12 with a Vancouver stock company.
Raymond grew up during the great depression and wanted to study acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. The sad thing is he never got the chance because he couldn’t afford it. In 1934, he joined a repertory theater group in Toronto that toured throughout Canada, then joined another company that toured India, Australia, and England. He briefly did some work for the radio. As fate would have it, He managed to get a teaching job at He briefly attended Long Beach Junior College and taught for a semester at San Jose Junior College, working nights as a radio actor and singer. Finally, in 1937 Raymond managed to land his association with the Pasadena Playhouse. (Interesting how fate would work in this scenario hu?)
In 1940, Raymond moved over to New York For the cream of the crop in movie theaters with the first appearance on Broadway. The first play he appeared in was called Crazy With the Heat, a two-act musical revue produced by Kurt Kasznar that quickly folded. He would later star in a role as an emergency replacement for the play Quiet Wedding in 1942. That landed him with the Pasadena Playhouse drama faculty for 18 months. Not to mention afterward he performs in many plays for over thirty years. He returned later to Broadway for Patrick Hamilton’s The Duke in Darkness (1944), a psychological drama set during the French Wars of Religion. His performance as the loyal friend of the imprisoned protagonist led to a contract with RKO Radio Pictures. So you can easily tell he had a historic history with theater. But of course, that didn’t stop there as we now enter with his amazing stint to the film industry as a whole.
Filming a legend
The cool part about this series is how he managed to appear over between 1946 and 1957, creating an array of villains that established him as an icon of film noir. (So you are just beaming with that excitement into wanting more of Raymond yet?)
Film historian Alan Silver concluded that Burr’s most significant work in the genre is in ten films: Desperate (1947), Sleep, My Love (1948), Raw Deal (1948), Pitfall (1948), Abandoned (1949), Red Light (1950), M (1951), His Kind of Woman (1951), The Blue Gardenia (1953), and Crime of Passion (1957). Silver described Burr’s private detective in Pitfall as “both reprehensible and pathetic” a characterization also cited by film historian Richard Schickel as a prototype of film noir, in contrast with the appealing television characters for which Burr later became famous. “He tried to make you see the psychosis below the surface, even when the parts weren’t huge,” said film historian James Ursini. “He was able to bring such complexity and different levels to those characters, and create sympathy for his characters even though they were doing reprehensible things.
To be honest, here, I could go on and on with what sort of impact this guy made in the industry. But Instead, I will be talking about the most famous movie that is well-known through the giant monster community. GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS! (1954)
Not to be confused with the comedian of the same name. This was one of Raymond’s roles in the TOHO movie Godzilla. One thing I will say about the role of Mr martin. Raymond took that role very seriously. Just from watching the first film really fit with the dark side of Raymond to the core. Not only that, We see what is brought to the table when he made his returned role from Return of Godzilla 1984/85. (All in all, I feel if anyone can be an embodiment of an acting role. Raymond Burr would be fitted the most with Steve martian in my humble opinion.)
The ending tide
Well, there are plenty of things to talk about with Raymond that it would make this blog a thousand times more than it should be and would make this a month-long endeavor. But to sum things up. Raymond would start to fall ill during his time of filming with The last Perry Mason film in 1993. It was later to be determined that being cancer within the liver was inoperable. Knowing this news, Raymond threw several “goodbye parties” before his death on September 12, 1993, at his Sonoma County ranch near Healdsburg. He was 76 years old.
Well, this is the end of another personal bio for the week. In keeping with the last few picks of Halloween(Why the personal bio is so early) But as we continue, I will be finishing up the holiday season with the classic monster movie, “Frankenstein conquers the world”. Be sure to check this classic out on the next review and I will see you on the next blog.