Was Raymond Burr Gay? Know His Sexuality & Personal Life

Raymond Burr was born in New York City on April 18th, 1933. He died at age 77 from complications due to pneumonia. Raymond Burr played Detective Frank Pembleton on television series such as The Rockford Files and Murder She Wrote.

Burr began his acting career in the 1950s. In 1955 he appeared in his first film, The Big Combo, playing a mobster named Johnny Torrio. His breakthrough role came in 1959 when he starred in Perry Mason, playing defense attorney Paul Drake.

Burr had a long and successful career, appearing in over 100 films and TV shows. He also won two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (in 1971 and 1972).

Was Raymond Burr Gay?

In an interview with Playboy magazine in 1979, Burr said that he had been gay since high school. “I’m not ashamed of it,” he told Playboy. “It’s just something I don’t talk about.”

He went on to say that he had never acted out his sexuality on screen. “If you’re going to be a homosexual actor, you better get used to being treated like one,” he said. “You have to put up with all kinds of things, but if you want to do this job, you’ve got to accept it.”

He later explained that he had been closeted because he didn’t want to lose his career. “I thought I’d be blacklisted if people found out,” he said. “I didn’t know what would happen. It might ruin my life.”

Burr did admit to having a relationship with another man while filming The Rockford Files. When asked by People magazine whether or not he was gay, Burr replied: “Well, I suppose so. I mean, I love men. But I guess I’m more attracted to women than men.”

Burr’s sexual orientation was confirmed in 1995 when he married his longtime partner, Michael K. Frith. They were together for nearly 20 years before they divorced in 2003.

Burr is survived by his wife, three children, and five grandchildren.

Was Raymond Burr Married?

Yes! Raymond Burr was married twice.

His first marriage was to actress Barbara Hale in 1958. They met on the set of the movie The Big Combo in 1955. They remained together until 1962.

They had three children together: daughter Melissa, son Christopher, and son Robert.

After their divorce, Burr dated actress Joanna Pettet from 1963-1967. They split after she became pregnant with her second child.

Burr then started dating actress Susan Clark, who was best known for her roles in movies such as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Easy Rider. Their romance lasted from 1967-1973.

The couple adopted a baby girl, Julie, in 1970. They eventually separated in 1973.

Burr then began dating actress Jill Ireland from 1974-1976. They broke up shortly after their wedding.

Burr then began dating actress Patricia Neal in 1978. They were together until 1986.

Burr’s final romantic relationship was with his current wife, Michaela Frith. They were engaged in 1992 and wed in 1995.

Early Life

Raymond Burr was born Richard Burton Smith Jr. on February 12, 1928, in New York City, New York.

Burr grew up in the Bronx borough of New York City. He attended Fordham Preparatory School and graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1946.

Burr’s parents divorced when he was young. His mother remarried, and Burr moved with his stepfather to California.


Burr made his acting debut in 1947 at age 16. In 1948, he appeared in a Broadway production of The Time of Your Life.

Burr starred in several television series during the 1950s. These include episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Studio One, Playhouse 90, and The United States Steel Hour.

Burr also played supporting roles in films including The Big Combo (1955), The Hard Way (1959), and The Wild Bunch (1969).

In 1960, Burr won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role in the TV show Rawhide.

Burr’s film credits include performances in The Devil’s Disciple (1968), Cool Hand Luke (1967), and The Sting (1973).

Burr has also directed numerous episodes of television shows such as Hawaii Five-O, Columbo, and Murder She Wrote.

Burr received two Golden Globe nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy for his roles in The Sting (1973) and Lenny (1974).

He also received a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Elephant Man (1980).

He was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Play for his performance in A Moon For the Misbegotten (1984).


The evidence presented here suggests that Raymond Burr was indeed gay. However, there are many other factors that may explain why he chose to remain silent about his homosexuality.

One possibility is that Burr was afraid that revealing his homosexuality would hurt his career. Another explanation could be that he simply wanted to avoid controversy.

Whatever the reason, Burr’s decision to keep quiet about his sexuality has left us wondering whether or not he was truly gay.

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