Born in small town in Canada
Moved to California so mother could pursue career in music; father disliked living there and returned to Canada after parents' divorce; lived with maternal grandparents who owned and operated a hotel in Vallejo
During the Depression, worked for government agencies
Began acting at the Pasadena Playhouse
Broadway debut in "Crazy with the Heat"
Had modest success in the Broadway play "Duke in Darkness"; spotted by agent who signed him and arranged a screen test
Hired by RKO as a contract player; first met Barbara Hale (date approximate)
Film debut in "Without Reservations", a comedy starring Claudette Colbert and John Wayne
Portrayed the prosecuting attorney in "A PLace in the Sun"
During the 1950s acted in anthology drama series such as "Playhouse 90", "Climax!", "Counterpoint" and "Ford Television Theater"
Played perhaps most famous feature film role as the wife killer in Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window"
Played first leading roles in films in "Please Murder Me", "The Secret of Treasure Mountain" and the US release version of "Godzilla"
Portrayed a cop investigating a "Crime of Passion"
Had signature role of the successful defense attorney in the popular CBS courtroom drama "Perry Mason"; won two Emmy Awards
Last feature film for eight years, "Desire in the Dust"
Purchased own resort island in Fiji
Formed Harbor Productions
Played wheelchair-bound chief of detectives Robert T Ironside on the popular NBC drama "Ironside"
Returned to feature films with a role in "P.J."
Played editor R B Kingston on the short-lived NBC drama series, "Kingston: Confidential"
Returned to feature films after a ten-year absence with a role in "Tomorrow Never Comes"
Played Herman Bockweiss on the noted 12-part NBC miniseries, "Centennial"
Reprised the role of Perry Mason in the first of more than two dozen TV-movies, "Perry Mason Returns" (NBC)
Reprised role in the remake/sequel "Godzilla 1985/Gojira"
Hosted the syndicated docudrama series "Trial by Jury", in which court cases were acted out
Last feature films, "Delirious" and "Kootenai Brown"
Reprised the role of Robert T Ironside on the TV-movie, "The Return of Ironside"
Finished location work on the Perry Mason mystery TV-movie, "The Case of the Killer Kiss" one month prior to his death