The William Talman Scandal
William Talman, a television and movie actor is best known for playing Los Angeles District Attorney Hamilton Burger in the long-running series, Perry Mason.
In 1953, Talman played a sadistic, psychopathic killer in a film noir The Hitch-Hiker. The New York Times wrote, "William Talman, as the ruthless murderer, makes the most of one of the year's juiciest assignments." His performance was also noted by Gail Patrick Jackson, executive producer of the CBS-TV series Perry Mason.
What you may not know is his arrest. Sheriff's deputies 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 seven of the other defendants either nude or seminude. All were arrested for possession of marijuana an lewd vagrancy. Municipal judge Adolph Alexander dropped the possession charge and dismissed the lewd vagrancy charges against Talman and the others on June 17 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.
Talman was later rehired after Perry Mason producer Gail Patrick Jackson made a request to CBS following a massive letter-writing campaign by viewers.
Talman was married three times and had 3 children and 2 stepchildren. He died of lung cancer on August 30, 1968, at the age of 53.