Robert Benevides: Who Was Raymond Burr's Partner?
Robert Benevides and classic TV actor Raymond Burr were in a relationship for over 30 years. But their love was not commonly known until after Burr, the Perry Mason and Ironside star, died in 1993. Let's get to know Robert Benevides, the man who was once called the "constant companion" of Raymond Burr.
Robert Benevides was actor Raymond Burr's partner for over 30 years.
The couple met in the 1960s and were together until Burr's death in 1993. Only, their relationship was kept a secret because Burr, a huge star of classic TV, couldn't risk coming out as gay in less-accepting times in Hollywood.
Robert Benevides and partner Raymond Burr's relationship
Burr and Benevides first met on the original Perry Mason TV series in the '60s. According to the Burr biography Hiding in Plain Sight, the men were introduced to each other when Benevides delivered a script to Burr on set.
Afterward, Benevides became an assistant to Burr, though he was also an actor before then — he had around a dozen credits on TV series of the 1950s. He later became a production assistant on Burr's Ironside and the Perry Mason revivals.
Benevides, who was 13 years younger than Burr, is still living today. In 2019, he told Passport magazine that he moved on from acting after a talk with Burr. He didn't feel cut out for the job, so his partner helped him arrange a career as a producer:
"Raymond told me, 'You've been doing production stuff for me already. You've been working on my scripts, you've been doing it all, why don't you just go into the production side?' So we set up an office in Universal City and I was a producer from then on," Benevides said.
Raymond Burr left his estate, fortune to Robert Benevides
Burr and Benevides lived together on a large property in Sonoma County, California. During the relationship, Benevides was often called Burr's "business partner" or "friend," while the actor used fake stories of tragedies to avoid discussing his private life.
I just saw a site w/celebrities who have been married 15+ years. The list only included heterosexual couples. Here's a pic of Raymond Burr (Perry Mason & Ironside) w/ his partner Robert Benevides, together 33 years (until Burr's death in 1993). pic.twitter.com/FzjHaSVPfL— Pat Fowlkes ️ (@peffowlkes) August 21, 2020
When Burr died in 1993, the truth of his relationship with Benevides became better known. People magazine even called Benevides the "constant companion" of Burr in an article shortly after. He left his full estate to Robert.
The men had also begun making wine together in the 1980s. After Burr died, Benevides renamed the vineyard on their property after his late partner. It's still in operation today as Raymond Burr Vineyards.
You can also watch our video here for more on how Raymond Burr kept his private life a secret during his storied acting career.