American actor Raymond Burr will probably be forever associated with two successful TV roles - Perry Mason (1957-66 & 1985-93) and Ironside (1967-1975). Although he notably appeared in A Place In the Sun (1951) and as the murderer in Hitchcock`s Rear Window (1954).
An intensely private man, it would appear that Burr created a smokescreen to conceal his homosexuality by inventing two wives and a son. One of his fictional wives died in a plane crash, one from cancer, his son from leukemia aged 10. He was actually briefly married, but that marriage was annulled.
His real 'marriage' was with an actor he met while filming Perry Mason. Raymond Burr and Robert Benevides bought a Fijian island in 1963, ranched cattle, farmed orchids and invested in improving the lives of the islanders. In 1983, they sold the island, and moved with their successful orchid business to California. In the 1980s they donated greenhouses, much of their orchid collections and over $1m worth of art and antiques to a California University. They started a successful vineyard which continues today.
In 1985, Burr reprised his role as Perry Mason in a series of successful TV movies, with Benevides as producer. By the early 1990s, Burr`s health was failing, and in 1993 he retired to their farm where he died from cancer.