Today is the birthday of Detroit born American television and movie actor William Whitney Talman, Jr. Best known for playing Los Angeles District Attorney Hamilton Burger in the long-running series Perry Mason.
Talman, as Burger, went 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.”
Asked about how he felt about Burger losing to Mason week after week. Talman said,
“Burger doesn’t lose. How can a district attorney lose when he fails to convict an innocent person? Unlike a fist or gun fight, in court you can have a winner without having a loser. As a matter of fact, Burger in a good many instances has joined Mason in action against unethical attorneys, lying witnesses, or any one else obstructing justice. Like any real-life district attorney, justice is Burger’s main interest.”
As well as playing the DA on Perry Mason, Talman also guest-starred in various television series, including Wagon Train, Have Gun-Will Travel, Cimarron City, and Gunsmoke, as well as being an accomplished an accomplished screenwriter and stage and screen actor
Talman is also known for being the first actor in Hollywood to film an anti smoking public service announcement for the American Cancer Society.