Tuesday, September 1, 2015

ARRESTED: Hamilton Burger

Throughout the long run of the classic television drama Perry Mason, viewers loved to hate Los Angeles District Attorney Hamilton Burger, who relished fighting Perry Mason in court. Despite his overwhelming losses against Mr. Mason, DA Burger always smarmily insisted that *this* time things would be different and he would be victorious. Sadly for Hamilton, that rarely proved true.

But there was one case that struck home for the actor who portrayed the hard charging DA. In 1960, William Talman, who played the uptight Hamilton Burger was arrested for attending a marijuana smoking party at a friend's house. Even more salaciously, some of the gentlemen and ladies at the party were naked. The scandal was too much for CBS, which promptly fired the actor for violating his morals clause. After a show producer voiced his support and viewers launched a letter writing campaign, CBS relented and brought the actor back. Sadly the scandal likely cost him his career and he quietly retired after the show left the airwaves.