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Perry Mason: The Case Of The Killer Kiss Was Raymond Burr’s Final Performance

Perry Mason: The Case Of The Killer Kiss Was Raymond Burr's Final Performance

Perry Mason: The Case Of The Killer Kiss from 1993 marked Raymond Burr’s final performance as the title character before his passing.

Perry Mason: The Case Of The Killer Kiss proved to be the great Raymond Burr’s final performance. Raymond Burr had an extensive list of movie and TV credits, with some of his most famous projects including Alfred Hitchcock thriller Rear Window and TV series Ironside. The latter cast him as a San Francisco detective who is left paralyzed after a shooting, with both the character and show proving so popular it lasted for eight seasons. Burr also returned for 1993 TV movie The Return Of Ironside.

Arguably Raymond Burr’s most famous role is that of Perry Mason. The show was based on a hugely popular series of books from author Erle Stanley Gardner. Perry Mason began in 1957 and follows the title character, a criminal defense lawyer who works closely with secretary Della (Barbara Hale) and P.I. Paul Drake (William Hopper) on his cases. Outside of a handful of episodes, Mason tended to clear the name of his clients and the show ended up running for nine seasons, during which Burr worked so hard he claimed to barely have had a personal life outside of it. While the show ended in 1966, a revival series dubbed The New Perry Mason aired in 1975, with Monte Markham taking over the role; it only lasted a season.

In 1956 Raymond Burr famously appeared in Godzilla, King Of The Monsters, an American produced re-edit of the 1954 classic. The movie was re-dubbed in English while scenes with Burr as reporter Steve Martin were inserted into the story. 1985 proved to be a very busy year for Burr as he came back as Martin in Godzilla 1985 – an American re-edit of The Return Of Godzilla – and Perry Mason Returns. This TV movie proved so successful it kicked off a long-running series, but sadly, 1993’s The Case Of The Killer Kiss would be Raymond Burr’s final performance.

Perry Mason: The Case Of The Killer Kiss Was Raymond Burr's Final Performance
Perry Mason: The Case Of The Killer Kiss Was Raymond Burr’s Final Performance

The story of Perry Mason: The Case Of The Killer Kiss found the lawyer defending an actress friend after she becomes the prime suspect after her co-star is murdered. By the time the production was filming Raymond Burr’s ill health saw him using a wheelchair, and in nearly all his scenes in the TV movie, Mason is either sitting down or leaning against something. The actor was later diagnosed with liver cancer and passed away in September of that year.

While Perry Mason: The Case Of The Killer Kiss was Raymond Burr’s swansong, the series continued for another four TV movies. This was said to be at the actor’s request as he wanted his co-stars and crew to continue working, so Paul Sorvino and Hal Holbrook (The Fog) played new lawyer characters filling in for Mason while he’s away; these final movies were dubbed A Perry Mason Mystery. Matthew Rhys later inherited the role for HBO’s Perry Mason reboot, which offered a grittier take on the title character.

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