Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Raymond Burr

("Perry Mason" & "Ironside,")

Carlow’s own Ironside

Raymond Burr born 21 May 1917- died 12 September 1993.

While searching for information of Carlow for the IGP Carlow site, I found a surprise to add to the son and daughter list or at least a Great Grandson, Raymond Burr, old Ironside himself. However maybe not County Carlow born but he descends from good Carlow stock .

 Best known for his television "Perry Mason" and "Ironside," Burr had a career spanning over fifty years, including movie roles in such Hollywood productions as Rear Window with James Stuart.

Born Raymond William Stacey Burr on, 21 May 1917, in New Westminster, British Columbia the son of William Johnston Burr (1889-1985).

His excess girt and his steel blue eyes dark brown hair and a massive chest and a powerful built body were his trademarks, but he had his ancestors to thanks for of these.

Three brothers came to Canada from Co Carlow in Ireland, one brother Huge Burr went to Canada in the early 1800’s, settling on the Island of Victoria British Colombia he later moved to the mainland to New Westminster 35 mile from Vancouver. He taught at the locals school for three years while investing in the rich farm land nearby. Hugh brought land in the Burrard Inlet he developed a dairy and fruit farm, he made a profitable business selling butter milk Fruit and vegetables to the ship docked in the Fraser River. Raymond a part from his acting inherited his ancestors huge passion for farming and teaching.

Raymond is the sixth generation of Burr from New Westmininster, Raymond’s Grandfather Joseph Burr became a saddle maker, later moved to the town of Yale the British Colombia and joined the Provisional Police, later he was made a government agent an moved to Ashcroft. Joseph cousin also called Joseph work for the Prison Service in New Westminster. Raymond Great Uncle Benjamin Burr worked in the Federal Penitentiary. Most of Raymond’s early relative worked in or had connections to Law and Order thought out Western Canada. Joseph W. Burr, Raymond’s grandfather died in 1927 soon after his fiftieth wedding anniversary, he left his wife Mary Jane Johnston Burr, four daughter and two sons. Mary Jane live to 102 years of age, her son William Burr born 1889 was Raymond’s father, William younger brother James b. Burr became the keeper of the first Insane asylum in the area, his sons James Jr and Benjamin became a Jailers. With all this family history in Law related employments, it is not surprising Raymond Burr once he became an actor excelled in Law and Order roll as he had so many memories to call upon.

In World War Two, Burr served in the US Navy, serving in counter intelligence, he was wounded while aboard a ship struck by a Japanese Kamikaze plane of the coast of Okinawa, he obtain serious burn and had to have 6 operations to remove shrapnel in his back and shoulder , spending months in a hospital in Australia. He was awarded the Purple Heart medal for this action; he spent further visits to hospital on his return to the US. In 1946 he was given his official discharge from the navy at the rank of Lt Commander. His Naval service was not widely known, and he himself did not elaborate on it. (Source from his Biography by Ona L. Hill)

In 1946, Burr made his film debut in San Quentin 1946 (1946). From there, he went on to act in more than 90 films, the landing the role of defence attorney “Perry Mason” in (1957) in the series of the same name made him a house hold name. For his work on the Perry Mason he was award two Emmy’s .

In 1993, he died after a battle with cancer that dated back to his days on "Perry Mason", Burr died on 12 September 1993 at his ranch home

Source: Terry Curran

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