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BOOK REVIEW: HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT -
THE SECRET WORLD OF RAYMOND BURR

By Joel Kasow

NEW YORK, 30 JUNE 2009 — Raymond Burr was a constant figure on television in my younger years, first as the infallible Perry Mason and then as Ironsides. Both shows were enormously successful and can still be seen on television in some parts of the world. Even so, a new biography of the actor by Michael Seth Starr, Hiding in Plain Sight: The Secret Life of Raymond Burr , is of no particular interest these days, despite the blatant come-on of the title.

Burr constantly chose to conceal his homosexuality from all and sundry, blatantly claiming various wives and children, which any proper investigator should have instantaneously been able to refute, something the author points out. Unfortunately, little is revealed about Burr, nor is there even a picture of his long-time lover. Burr's sole concern through the years seems to have been to create a persona far removed from his existence, effectively denying that he was gay. Starr gives us a chronological narrative of the actor's career, but of how much interest is this today? Once or twice Burr had a film role that allowed him to display his talents, but his final years demanded little effort beyond caricature as Mason or Ironsides. And this does not make for a particularly interesting tale, especially when told in occasionally over-lively prose.

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Secret Life of Raymond Burr
By Michael Seth Starr

Hardcover: 268 pages
Applause Books; illustrated edition edition (April 2008)
ISBN-10: 1557836949
ISBN-13: 978-1557836946
$24.95

Joel Kasow is a senior editor at Culturekiosque.com

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