Some of Raymond Burr’s 27 Adopted Kids Grew up & Longed to Meet Him — The Actor Was Proud of Fatherhood


Raymond Burr, who regretted not having a family, never fathered a child naturally. But before his death, he was a proud dad to twenty-seven kids, all adopted from around the world. The actor barely stayed married to any woman and tried his best to mask his true nature to save his career.

It has been twenty-nine years since the demise of an iconic TV star, Raymond Burr, but he left behind a legacy to remember as an actor.

Burr, a man of impressive build, booming voice, and a handsome face, had an enduring career. Before the 1950s, he had already appeared in more than forty on-screen productions.

Portrait of Actor Raymond Burr. | Source: Getty Images

However, his career received a fillip when the then 40-year-old began to star on CBS’s “Perry Mason.” Nevertheless, he stuck with the production by reprising his role several times before his death.

Although the actor complained publicly about being imprisoned by a role with an unchanging formula, it was impossible to resist, following the fame and fortune attached.

Burr’s long-term feature on the CBS series has been dubbed a role that belonged to him. Truly, the actor knew how to bring life to his character, making it easy for fans to admire him.

Raymond Burr as Perry Mason, Barbara Hale as Della Street in ” The Case of the Lost Love.” | Source: Getty Images

While he was seemingly flawless on-screen, exposing the Genuineness of his passion through his acting, Burr’s life behind the cameras was enveloped in regrets and lies.

The “Perry Mason” star confessed that being on the series hindered him from the life he desired. He admitted, “the only thing I regret in my life— I’m sorry I spent nine years of my life tying myself down. I couldn’t be married, have a family, even have friends.”

Although ten years before his appearance in “Perry Mason,” he was married to Isabella Ward. The duo worked in Burr’s “Quiet Wedding,” and by 1943, at age 30, they had a real wedding.

Canadian actor Raymond Burr, circa 1985. | Source: Getty Images

Their marriage was short-lived; after their divorce, neither Ward nor Burr remarried. However, the actress had her excuse; she explained that marriage was not her thing. In her words:

“Some people are just not marrying people — and I think I’m one of them.”

On the other hand, Burr began to concoct stories to defend his bachelor status. The actor avoided any reasons but shared the fabricated truth that appealed to the public to hide his preference.

Canadian-American actor Raymond Burr in Los Angeles, California, circa 1985. | Source: Getty Images

Whether or not it happened, as he said, one thing was certain, Burr somehow loved to talk about the hurtful moments in his life, showing that he was not immune to pain.

During an interview, he went on about his love life with an unnamed lady whom he truly cherished. According to the “Perry Mason” star, he often bought gifts to make her happy, and they were always the right ones; he knew her preference.

Burr admitted that he loved her and showed great concern, but it was not reciprocated. He revealed that she gifted him green hand-knitted socks made of cashmere one Christmas. He noted:
“The socks were all green, the one color I didn’t like, and they were all the wrong sizes.”

Raymond Burr Hid the Truth to Protect his Secret Life and Career
Burr was great on-screen and an even more outstanding actor in real-life. His stories suited his personality and were nothing out of the ordinary.

In the end, Burr learned not only to share his love with these kids and their families but also to learn about different languages and cultures, including Italian, Korean, Vietnamese, Greek, Filipino, Hindustani, and Fijian.

The “Perry Mason” star claimed to be an army veteran, and he would show injuries to back up his claim.

He also talked about being a Hollywood bad boy who had relationships with many celebrity women, a widower, and lost a son; all of this never existed.

During the release of his first biography written by Ona Hill, the author accepted his revelations; it was not until fifteen years later when Michael Seth Starr, another writer who published “Hiding in Plain Sight: The Secret Life of Raymond Burr,” investigated, that the stories were debunked as lies.

Following his divorce from Ward, Burr mentioned that he had been married two times. Hill’s book labeled Annette Sutherland, his first wife. She had died tragically in 1943, during the Nazis’ attack that crashed the plane that killed actor Leslie Howard.

Starr maintained that there was never a Sutherland who died with Howard on the Nazis-attacked plane. The flight persons had been accounted for, and Sutherland was not part of the list.

In his book “Hiding in Plain Sight: The Secret Life of Raymond Burr,” the author clarified that Michael Evan Burr, the son of Sutherland and Burr’s marriage, who died from blood cancer at 10, never existed.

Reportedly, none of Burr’s family ever met his deceased wife and son. Even Bella, his only wife, explained that she was never introduced to Michael, nor did she know about his former relationship. She said:

“No, I never met him. Because there was no son. But I don’t want to talk about that — it isn’t my place to say anything about that… I was Ray’s first wife. If there had been a wife before me, he would have told me.”

The “Perry Mason” star also talked about his life with wife number two, Laura Andrina Morgan. Their marriage date remains a mystery, as Burr confirmed that they married in 1953 or 1955.

Unfortunately, their marriage ended after her untimely death. She has suffered cancer and lost the battle before their scheduled honeymoon to the Bahamas—like the former story, no Morgan existed. Nobody close to the actor met her.

Despite the glaring truth, some still believed Burr’s claims, and the lies were perpetuated over and over, even in his obituary published in New York Times.

Raymond Burr’s Life as a Husband and Father
The actor led a secret life as a gay man. He was later linked to his partner, Robert Benevides, with whom he spent thirty-five years before his death in 1993.

During their time as a couple, they enjoyed their relationship, ran a show business, shared their love for planting, and owned a winemaking business.

Even though the pair never had kids of their own, Burr was interested in fatherhood. His love for kids began at a much early age, even before he became a famous actor.

Burr and his brother developed a ritual where he would welcome kids into his home and share gifts every Christmas.

He continued with the treats as he grew older, blessing kids with gifts and leaving his home open to them. The “Perry Mason” star loved to help needy kids, and his heart often reached out to them.

Once he was buoyant enough, he considered adopting kids worldwide. A close pal introduced him to the Foster parents Plan. There, it costs ten dollars to feed a child monthly.

The actor adopted twenty-seven kids from different backgrounds. He visited them often, took them shopping, and even communicated with them.

Whenever their language threatened the relationship, it was translated to make both parties understand each other. Burr’s adopted kids included Francisco Corvino, an Italian assigned to him in 1959, followed by Christano T. David, of Filipino descent. There was also Ciro Onza from Italy and Lincoln White, a Korean.

During his Vietnam trip in 1967, the actor adopted four kids, Phan and Cong Lee, Maria Rorano, and David. His other adopted kids were from Greece.

In the end, Burr learned not only to share his love with these kids and their families but also to learn about different languages and cultures, including Italian, Korean, Vietnamese, Greek, Filipino, Hindustani, and Fijian.


Actor Raymond Burr at the 38th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on September 21, 1986 at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. | Source: Getty Images

These kids never stopped thanking Burr, even when he was away from them. They wrote him letters, talked about school, and sent their report cards to him. He even has a son who became a medical doctor.

While Burr was a good father to them, he was also a loving uncle to his niece and nephew and never forgot his family while sharing love with his adoptive kids.

Although sources confirmed that the actor might have lied about his past life and family, the “Perry Mason” star had a good heart, and he never caused pain to anyone, including the only wife he married, his lover, adoptive kids, and fans.


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