Longtime thespian Charles Macaulay, perhaps best remembered as the luckless prosecutor in the “Perry Mason” telepics, died of cancer Aug. 13 in Healdsburg, Calif. He was 72.
Macaulay retired from acting in 1993 following the death of “Mason” star and friend Raymond Burr. He spent the last six years of his life in Northern California’s Sonoma County as a resident of the Raymond Burr Vineyards, moving there from Los Angeles to help with public relations matters when Burr was dying of cancer, and ultimately became a partner in the vineyards, established by Burr in 1986.
Macaulay began his career as a New York stage actor in the 1950s and appeared in dozens of film and TV productions over five decades. A sampling of TV credits include: “Studio One,” “Mission Impossible,” “Star Trek,” “Gunsmoke,” “Columbo” and “Night Gallery.”
The role of the frustrated district attorney Hamilton Burger actually was created by actor William Talman on the original 1957-65 “Perry Mason” TV series. Macaulay assumed the role of the prosecutor in a spate of “Perry Mason” TV movies during the 1980s and ’90s.
An accomplished stage actor, his live theater credits include the title role in “The Winslow Boy” for the Theater Guild; a touring production of “Bell, Book, & Candle” with Charlton Heston; a Broadway appearance with Tyrone Power and Katherine Cornell in “The Dark Is Light Enough” and the title role of “Macbeth” at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego.
From 1986 to 1992, Macaulay served as associate adjunct professor at the USC School of Theater, where he also directed six productions.
He is survived by two brothers.