August 1958 Vol. 6, No. 5
Love walked out the door and slammed romance to smithereens the day Raymond Burr (TV's Perry Mason) was the gentlemanly defendant in the court room. That was more than three years ago when Ray and his second wife were legally separated by divroce. The parting was by mutual agreement, there was no big scandal, and no aftermath of grief such as Ray endured following the loss of his first wife who was tragically killed in a plane crash in 1949.
For Ray the two marriages illustrated the happiness and misery between the right and wrong woman for him. Since the divorce, he has tried to steer clear of romance, though, for a while, Natalie Wood gave him a change of heart. At seventeen she adored him and he glowed, happily, in her presence. They've remained good friends since her marriage to Bob Wagner.
The tongues that used to wag -- as they did when Nat and Ray dated -- were out of kilter when they termed it a spring and winter courtship because of the difference in age. Turned forty-one last month Ray just wasn't that much older despite the heavy heavy, in poundage and in roles, that used to weight his age. Gossip, perhaps, dampened that romance, but if a Burr-Wood merger was ever proposed its failure to incorporate was probably more due to the fact that Ray has become altar-shy. To escape matrimony he has built a wall-- figuratively-- aroound the charming miniature estate which he bought last year. He has tried to insulate himself against loneliness with an orchard, green house and vegetable garden and a slew of pets including dogs and ducks, chickens, rabbits and turtles.
As partial excuse for bachelorhood he offers his popular TV series in which he stars as Perry Mason, a legal beaver with a talent for crime solving. Blaming an 18-hour-a-day minimum work schedule for months on end he asserts: "Had I been married when I started this show I'd be unmarried now. No woman would stand this kind of life." What Ray doesn't take into account is his new found attractiveness. When he sheared his six-foot-two frame of some 150 pounds he gained allure for which there's no other phrase but s-e-x appeal. A powerfully built former football player and a man with a bonvivant's appetite for rich foods, Ray once weighed 340 pounds. The extra calories contributed to type casting him, almost to eternity, as a heavy who never got the girl. Ray had trimmed down before he tried out for Perry Mason and when it looked like the part of hero might, at last, be his he dieted rigorously till he stepped into the part at a nearly svelte 200 pounds.
Since he's fought the battle of the bulge and won, the ladies are finding Ray irresistible. He, however, claims: " It's highly unlikely that I will marry again."
And he adds: "In the meantime I make the best of my bachelor existence."
But that house over the Pacific is big enough for two--and there's room for more.
Ray definitely is currently not linked with anybody in Hollywood. It's truth, too, that he's had little time for dating in the past year. However, he's finally getting a vacation and after he unwinds and is more relaxed, he may be looking for someone to share the pleasant hours with him. Since Ray has put himself on record as a believer in long, long--three years, he says--getting-to-know-you engagements, it's unlikely he'll make a sudden marriage. It is certain, though, that he will wed again--that he wants someone else to come home to besides the menageries of pets.
He's a guy with a capacity for loving and a guy who likes having that strong affection returned. No doubt it'll happen.