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William Talman
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    (February 4, 1915-August 30, 1968)
    Born in Detroit, Michigan
    DA Hamilton Burger on ‘Perry Mason’
    Died in Encino, California (age 53)
    He was born to a wealthy father.
    He averaged three packs of cigarettes a day.
    While in his sophomore year at Dartmouth college, he was involved in a fatal car crash in which he drove a stolen vehicle.
    He was a prankster.
    Along with six others, he was arrested in a wild party where almost everyone was reported to be naked and high on Mary Jane (1960). This was the catalyst for his dismissal from the Perry Mason series on hearsay.
    While acquitted three months later by the courts, it took serious lobbying by cast members and fans alike for CBS to get him back and get him to reconsider. He was not initially willing to forgive.
    Unlike his character Burger, a genuine district attorney never has to work on prosecuting a suspect believed to be innocent.
    He was a boxer – and frequent winner – for his church team, as well as a tennis pro.
    His younger brother became a Rutgers prof.
    He directed scores of Army shows in the 40s — including one featuring Buddy Ebsen.
    Erle Stanley Gardner himself – who actually detested the character – endorsed his role.
    Part of his iconic anti-smoking commercial went: ‘You know, I didn’t mind losing those courtroom battles, but I’m in a battle now I don’t want to lose at all. Because if I lose it, it means losing my wife and those kids you just met. I’ve got lung cancer… If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit! Don’t be a loser.’ His widow carried on the crusade.

Credit: Cool It All Right?

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