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  • Date of birth : 04/02/1915
  • Date of death : 30/08/1968

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  • Talman William

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William Talman (1915)

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  Summary  

William Whitney Talman, Jr. (February 4, 1915 – August 30, 1968) was an American television and movie actor, who played Los Angeles District Attorney Hamilton Burger in the long-running series Perry Mason.

  Biography  

 acting career
Before his iconic television role, he worked on the Broadway stage and in movies. He played a sadistic psychopathic killer in Ida Lupino's 1953 film noir, The Hitch-Hiker. The New York Times said of him: "William Talman, as the ruthless murderer, makes the most of one of the year's juiciest assignments." But in the 1952 thriller Beware, My Lovely, about a war widow who is terrorized by a madman in her home, a photograph of Talman is used for the picture of her late, heroic husband.

Aside from his role in Perry Mason, he also guest-starred in various television series. He appeared in a first season episode of The Invaders, Quantity: Unknown. This would be his last on-screen acting role before his death.

Originally Talman auditioned for the title role of Perry Mason and Raymond Burr auditioned for the role of Hamilton Burger. Perry Mason creator and author, Erle Stanley Gardner, however, was present and demanded that the actors switch parts. Burr was then given the title role and Talman got the role of Burger. Talman, as Burger, would go on to lose all but three cases in the nine-year series, including a record two separate murder trials in the final episode. He called his record "the longest losing streak in history".

William Talman was fired from Perry Mason for a short period in 1960. Sheriff's deputies, suspicious of marijuana use, raided a party on March 13, 1960, in a private home in Beverly Hills at which Talman was a guest. The deputies reported finding Talman and other defendants in the nude. A morals charge was made against Talman , but municipal judge Adolph Alexander dismissed the charges against Talman and the others on June 18 for lack of proof. "I don’t approve of their conduct," the judge ruled, "but it is not for you and me to approve but to enforce the statutes." Despite this Talman was fired by CBS who refused to give a reason. Talman was rehired after producer Gail Jackson made a request of CBS.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "William Talman (actor)", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.