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George Reeves

George Reeves

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George Reeves was an American actor best known for his role as Superman
Superman
Superman is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics, widely considered to be an American cultural icon. Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective...

 in the 1950s television program Adventures of Superman
Adventures of Superman (TV series)
Adventures of Superman is an American television series based on comic book characters and concepts created in 1938 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The show is the first television series to feature Superman and began filming in 1951 in California...

.

His death at age 45 from a gunshot remains a polarizing issue. The official finding was suicide, but some believe he was murdered or the victim of an accidental shooting.

Early life


Reeves was born George Keefer Brewer in Woolstock, Iowa
Woolstock, Iowa
Woolstock is a city in Wright County, Iowa, United States. The population was 204 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Woolstock is located at just north of Eagle Creek's confluence with the Boone River....

, the son of Don Brewer and Helen Lescher (his death certificate erroneously lists his birthplace as Kentucky). Reeves was born five months into their marriage (the reason Reeves's mother subsequently claimed a false April birth date for her son, something he was unaware of until adulthood). They separated soon afterward and Helen moved back to her home at Galesburg, Illinois
Galesburg, Illinois
Galesburg is a city in Knox County, Illinois, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 32,195. It is the county seat of Knox County....

.

Later, Reeves' mother moved to California to stay with her sister. There, Helen met and married Frank Bessolo. George's father married Helen Schultz in 1925 and had children with her. Don Brewer apparently never saw his son again.

In 1927, Frank Bessolo adopted George as his own son, and the boy took on his new stepfather's last name to become George Bessolo. Frank and Helen Bessolo's marriage lasted 15 years and ended in divorce while Reeves was away visiting relatives. His mother told Reeves that Frank had committed suicide. Reeves's cousin, Catherine Chase, told biographer Jim Beaver
Jim Beaver
James Norman "Jim" Beaver, Jr. is an American stage, film, and television actor, playwright, screenwriter, and film historian...

 that Reeves did not know for several years that Bessolo was still alive, nor that he was his stepfather and not his biological father.

George began acting and singing in high school and continued performing on stage as a student at Pasadena Junior College. He also boxed
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

 as a heavyweight in amateur matches until his mother Helen ordered him to stop, fearing his good looks might be damaged.

Acting career


While studying acting at the Pasadena Playhouse
Pasadena Playhouse
The Pasadena Playhouse is a historic performing arts venue located 39 S El Molino Avenue in Pasadena, California. The 686-seat auditorium produces a variety of cultural and artistic events, professional shows, and community engagements each year.-History:...

, Reeves met his future wife, Ellanora Needles. They married on September 22, 1940, in San Marino, California, at the Church of Our Savior. They had no children and divorced 10 years later.

Reeves's film career began in 1939 when he was cast as Stuart Tarleton (albeit incorrectly listed in the film's credits as Brent Tarleton), one of Scarlett O'Hara
Scarlett O'Hara
Scarlett O' Hara is the protagonist in Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel Gone with the Wind and in the later film of the same name...

's suitors in Gone with the Wind
Gone with the Wind (film)
Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American historical epic film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel of the same name. It was produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Victor Fleming from a screenplay by Sidney Howard...

. It was a minor role but he and Fred Crane
Fred Crane (actor)
Fred Crane was an American film and television actor and radio announcer. He is probably best known for his role as Brent Tarleton in the 1939 film, Gone with the Wind, speaking the opening lines in the movie during the opening scene with Scarlett O'Hara and Stuart Tarleton.-Biography:Fred Crane...

, both in brightly dyed red hair as "the Tarleton Twins," were in the film's opening scenes. He was contracted to Warner Brothers soon after being cast and that studio changed his professional name to "George Reeves." His Gone with the Wind screen credit reflects the change. Between the start of Gone With the Wind production and its release twelve months later, several films on his Warner Bros. contract were made and released, making Gone With the Wind his first film role, but his fifth film release.

He starred in a number of two-reel short subjects and appeared in several B-pictures, including two with Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 and three with James Cagney
James Cagney
James Francis Cagney, Jr. was an American actor, first on stage, then in film, where he had his greatest impact. Although he won acclaim and major awards for a wide variety of performances, he is best remembered for playing "tough guys." In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him eighth...

 (Torrid Zone
Torrid Zone
Torrid Zone is a 1940 adventure film starring James Cagney, Ann Sheridan and Pat O'Brien.-Plot summary:Steve Case has to deal with trouble at his tropical fruit company's Central American banana plantation...

, The Fighting 69th, and The Strawberry Blonde
The Strawberry Blonde
-Cast:* James Cagney as T. L. 'Biff' Grimes* Olivia de Havilland as Amy Lind* Rita Hayworth as Virginia Brush* Alan Hale as William 'Old Man' Grimes* Jack Carson as Hugo Barnstead* George Tobias as Nicholas Pappalas* Una O'Connor as Mrs...

). Warners loaned him to producer Alexander Korda
Alexander Korda
Sir Alexander Korda was a Hungarian-born British producer and film director. He was a leading figure in the British film industry, the founder of London Films and the owner of British Lion Films, a film distributing company.-Life and career:The elder brother of filmmakers Zoltán Korda and Vincent...

 to co-star with Merle Oberon
Merle Oberon
Merle Oberon was an Indian-born British actress best known for her screen performances in The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Cowboy and the Lady . She began her film career in British films as Anne Boleyn in The Private Life of Henry VIII . She travelled to the United States to make films for Samuel...

 in Lydia
Lydia (film)
Lydia is a 1941 drama film, directed by Julien Duvivier. It stars Merle Oberon as Lydia MacMillan, a woman whose life is seen from her spoiled, immature youth through bitter and resentful middle years, until at last she is old and accepting...

, a box-office failure. Released from his Warners contract, he signed a contract at Twentieth Century-Fox but was released after only a handful of films, one of which was the Charlie Chan movie Dead Men Tell. He freelanced, appearing in five Hopalong Cassidy
Hopalong Cassidy
Hopalong Cassidy is a fictional cowboy hero created in 1904 by the author Clarence E. Mulford, who wrote a series of popular short stories and twenty-eight novels based on the character....

 westerns before director Mark Sandrich
Mark Sandrich
Mark Sandrich was a Jewish American film director, writer and producer.Sandrich was an engineering student at Columbia University when he began in the film business by accident. While visiting a friend on a film set, he saw that the director had a problem in setting up a shot; Sandrich offered...

 cast Reeves as Lieutenant John Summers opposite Claudette Colbert
Claudette Colbert
Claudette Colbert was a French-born American-based actress of stage and film.Born in Paris, France and raised in New York City, Colbert began her career in Broadway productions during the 1920s, progressing to film with the advent of talking pictures...

 in So Proudly We Hail!
So Proudly We Hail!
So Proudly We Hail! is a 1943 film directed by Mark Sandrich, and starring Claudette Colbert, Paulette Goddard – who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance – and Veronica Lake...

 (1942), a war drama for Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

. He won critical acclaim for the role and garnered considerable publicity.

Reeves was drafted into the U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 in early 1943. He was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

 and performed in the USAAF's Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 show Winged Victory
Winged Victory (play)
Winged Victory is a play and, later, a film by Moss Hart, originally created and produced by the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II as a morale booster and as a fundraiser for the Army Emergency Relief Fund. Upon recommendation of Lt. Col. Dudley S. Dean, who had been approached with the...

. The long Broadway run was followed by a national tour and a movie
Winged Victory (film)
Winged Victory is a 1944 drama film directed by George Cukor, a joint effort of 20th Century Fox and the U.S. Army Air Forces. Based upon the successful play with the same name by Moss Hart, who also wrote the screenplay, the film only opened after the play's theatre run.-Plot:Frankie Davis , Allan...

 version. Reeves was then transferred to the Army Air Forces' First Motion Picture Unit
First Motion Picture Unit
The First Motion Picture Unit was the first unit of the United States Military to be made up entirely of motion picture personnel. It was also the title of a 1943 documentary about the unit.-Organization:...

, where he made training films. He looked forward to working with So Proudly We Hail! director Mark Sandrich. Sandrich felt that Reeves had the potential to become a major star, but unfortunately he died while Reeves was still in uniform. Reeves would later comment on the impact Sandrich's death had on his film career.

Discharged at the war's end, Reeves returned to Hollywood. However, many studios were slowing down their production schedules, and some production units had shut down completely. He appeared in a pair of outdoor thrillers with Ralph Byrd
Ralph Byrd
Ralph Byrd was an American actor. He was most famous for playing the comic strip character Dick Tracy on screen, in serials, movies and television.-Early life and career:...

 and in a Sam Katzman
Sam Katzman
Sam Katzman was an American film producer and director. Born into a poor Jewish family, Katzman went to work as a stage laborer at the age of 13 in the fledgling East Coast film industry...

-produced serial, The Adventures of Sir Galahad
Adventures of Sir Galahad
Adventures of Sir Galahad is the 41st serial released by Columbia Pictures. It was based on Arthurian legend and, notably, was one of the very few serials of the time with a period setting that was not a western.-Plot:...

. Reeves fit the rugged requirements of the roles and, with his retentive memory for dialogue, he did well under rushed production conditions. He was able to play against type and starred as a villainous gold hunter in a Johnny Weissmuller
Johnny Weissmuller
Johnny Weissmuller was an Austro-Hungarian-born American swimmer and actor best known for playing Tarzan in movies. Weissmuller was one of the world's best swimmers in the 1920s, winning five Olympic gold medals and one bronze medal. He won fifty-two US National Championships and set sixty-seven...

 Jungle Jim
Jungle Jim
Jungle Jim is the fictional hero of a series of jungle adventures in various media. The series began in 1934 as an American newspaper comic strip chronicling the adventures of Asia-based hunter Jim Bradley, who was nicknamed Jungle Jim...

 film.

Separated from his wife (their divorce became final in 1950), Reeves moved to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 in 1949. He performed on live television anthology programs as well as on radio and then returned to Hollywood in 1951 for a role in a Fritz Lang
Fritz Lang
Friedrich Christian Anton "Fritz" Lang was an Austrian-American filmmaker, screenwriter, and occasional film producer and actor. One of the best known émigrés from Germany's school of Expressionism, he was dubbed the "Master of Darkness" by the British Film Institute...

 film, Rancho Notorious
Rancho Notorious
Rancho Notorious is a 1952 Western shot in Technicolor, directed by Fritz Lang and starring Marlene Dietrich as the matron of a criminal hideout called Chuck-a-Luck...

. Meanwhile, DC Comics
DC Comics
DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner...

 was planning a television adaptation of its most famous character.

In 1953, Reeves played a minor character, Sergeant Maylon Stark, in the motion picture From Here To Eternity
From Here to Eternity
From Here to Eternity is a 1953 drama film directed by Fred Zinnemann and based on the novel of the same name by James Jones. It deals with the troubles of soldiers, played by Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra and Ernest Borgnine stationed on Hawaii in the months leading up to the...

. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture and gave Reeves a second motion picture appearance in a film that ultimately won the Oscar.

Superman


In June 1951, Reeves was offered the role of Superman
Superman
Superman is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by DC Comics, widely considered to be an American cultural icon. Created by American writer Jerry Siegel and Canadian-born American artist Joe Shuster in 1932 while both were living in Cleveland, Ohio, and sold to Detective...

 in a new television series entitled Adventures of Superman
Adventures of Superman (TV series)
Adventures of Superman is an American television series based on comic book characters and concepts created in 1938 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The show is the first television series to feature Superman and began filming in 1951 in California...

. He was initially reluctant to take the role because, like many actors of his time, he considered television unimportant and believed few would see his work. He received low pay and only for the weeks of production. The half-hour films were shot on tight schedules; at least two shows were made every six days. According to commentaries on the Adventures of Superman DVD sets, multiple scripts would be filmed simultaneously to take advantage of the standing sets, so that all the "Perry White's office" scenes for three or four episodes would be shot the same day; the various "apartment" scenes would be done consecutively.

Reeves's career as Superman had begun with Superman and the Mole Men
Superman and the Mole Men
Superman and the Mole Men is a 1951 superhero film starring George Reeves as Superman and Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane. It is the first theatrical feature film based on the DC Comics character Superman, although two live-action Superman films had already been shown in cinemas, they appeared in a...

, a film intended both as a B-picture and as the pilot for the TV series. Immediately after completing it, Reeves and the crew began production of the first season's episodes, all shot over 13 weeks in the summer of 1951. The series went on the air the following year, and Reeves was amazed at becoming a national celebrity. In 1957, the struggling ABC Network
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 purchased the show for national broadcast, which gave him greater visibility.

The Superman cast members had restrictive contracts which prevented them from taking other work that might interfere with the series. Except for the second season, the Superman schedule was brief (13 shows shot two per week, a total of seven weeks out of a year) but all had a "30-day clause", which meant that the producers could demand their exclusive services for a new season on four weeks notice. This prevented long-term work on major films with long schedules, stage plays which might lead to a lengthy run, or any other series work.

However, Reeves had earnings from personal appearances beyond his meager salary, and his affection for his young fans was genuine. Reeves took his role model status seriously, avoiding cigarettes where children could see him and eventually quitting smoking. He kept his private life discreet. Nevertheless, he had a romantic relationship with a married ex-showgirl eight years his senior, Toni Mannix
Toni Mannix
Toni Mannix was an American actress and dancer in the early talkies. She became notorious for an extramarital relationship with actor George Reeves during her marriage to MGM studio head Eddie Mannix.-Early life:...

, wife of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of films and television programs. MGM was founded in 1924 when the entertainment entrepreneur Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer...

 general manager Eddie Mannix
Eddie Mannix
Edgar Joseph "Eddie" Mannix was an American film studio executive....

.

In the documentary Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman
Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman
Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman is a documentary film from executive producers Bryan Singer and Kevin Burns which details the history of the Superman franchise, from comic book, to television, to the big screen...

, Jack Larson
Jack Larson
Jack Edward Larson is an American actor, librettist, screenwriter and producer. He is best known for his portrayal of photographer/cub reporter Jimmy Olsen on the TV series Adventures of Superman.-Biography:...

 told how when he first met Reeves he told him that he enjoyed his performance in So Proudly We Hail! According to Larson, Reeves said that if Mark Sandrich had not died, he would not be there in "this monkey suit". Larson said it was the only time he heard Reeves say anything negative about being Superman.

In between the first and second seasons of Superman, Reeves got sporadic acting assignments in one-shot TV anthology programs and in two feature films, Forever Female (1953) and Fritz Lang's The Blue Gardenia (1953). But by the time the series was airing nationwide, Reeves found himself so associated with Superman and Clark Kent that it was difficult for him to find other roles. A false but often-repeated story suggests that he was upset when his scenes as Sergeant Maylon Stark in the classic film From Here to Eternity
From Here to Eternity
From Here to Eternity is a 1953 drama film directed by Fred Zinnemann and based on the novel of the same name by James Jones. It deals with the troubles of soldiers, played by Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra and Ernest Borgnine stationed on Hawaii in the months leading up to the...

 were cut after a preview audience kept yelling "There's Superman!" whenever he appeared on screen. Eternity director Fred Zinnemann
Fred Zinnemann
Fred Zinnemann was an Austrian-American film director. He won four Academy Awards and directed films like High Noon, From Here to Eternity and A Man for All Seasons.-Life and career:...

, the screenwriter Daniel Taradash
Daniel Taradash
Daniel Taradash was an American screenwriter.Taradash's credits include Golden Boy , From Here to Eternity , Rancho Notorious , Don't Bother to Knock , Désirée , Picnic , Storm Center , which he also directed, Bell, Book and Candle , Morituri , Hawaii...

 and others have maintained that every scene written for Reeves's character was shot and included as part of the released film. Zinnemann has also asserted that there were no post-release cuts, nor was there even a preview screening. Everything in the first production draft of the script is still present in the final product seen since 1953.

With Toni Mannix, Reeves worked tirelessly to raise money to fight myasthenia gravis
Myasthenia gravis
Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune neuromuscular disease leading to fluctuating muscle weakness and fatiguability...

. He served as national chairman for the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation in 1955. During the second season, Reeves appeared in a short film for the Treasury Department, Stamp Day for Superman
Stamp Day for Superman
Stamp Day for Superman is a 1954 black-and-white short film starring George Reeves as Superman and Noel Neill as Lois Lane. It was produced by Superman Inc. for the United States Department of the Treasury to promote the purchase of U.S. Savings Bonds...

, in which he caught the villains and told children why they should invest in government savings stamp
Savings stamp
A Savings Stamp is a stamp issued by a government or other body to enable small amounts of money to be saved over time to accumulate a larger capital sum. The funds accumulated may then be used to make a larger purchase such as taking out a savings bond or to pay a large upcoming bill...

s.

In the 104 episodes, Reeves showed gentlemanly behavior to his fellow actors. Larson, who played Jimmy Olsen
Jimmy Olsen
Jimmy Olsen is a fictional character who appears mainly in DC Comics’ Superman stories. Olsen is a young photojournalist working for the Daily Planet. He is close friends with Lois Lane, Clark Kent/Superman and Perry White...

, recalled that Reeves enjoyed playing practical jokes on the crew and cast, as depicted during a scene in the film Hollywoodland
Hollywoodland
Hollywoodland is a 2006 American biographical docudrama film directed by Allen Coulter in his feature directorial debut. The film documents a fictional account of the investigation surrounding the death of actor George Reeves , the star of the 1950s television series Adventures of Superman. Adrien...

. Reeves insisted his original Lois Lane
Lois Lane
Lois Lane is a fictional character, the primary love interest of Superman in the comic books of DC Comics. Created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, she first appeared in Action Comics #1 ....

, Phyllis Coates
Phyllis Coates
Phyllis Coates is an American film and television actress. She is perhaps best known for her portrayal of reporter Lois Lane in the 1951 film Superman and the Mole Men, and during the first season of the Adventures of Superman television series.-Early life and career:After graduating from high...

, be given equal billing in the credits. He also stood by Robert Shayne
Robert Shayne
Robert Shayne , born Robert Shaen Dawe, was an American actor.-Career:Shayne played many character roles in movies and television, such as a 1943 movie entitled Wagon Wheels West, but he is best remembered for his portrayal of the recurring character Police Inspector William "Bill" Henderson on the...

 (who played Police Inspector William "Bill" Henderson) when Shayne was subpoenaed by FBI agents on the set of Superman. (Shayne's political activism in the Screen Actors Guild
Screen Actors Guild
The Screen Actors Guild is an American labor union representing over 200,000 film and television principal performers and background performers worldwide...

 in the 1940s was used by his embittered ex-wife as an excuse to label him a Communist, although Shayne had never been a Communist Party
Communist Party USA
The Communist Party USA is a Marxist political party in the United States, established in 1919. It has a long, complex history that is closely related to the histories of similar communist parties worldwide and the U.S. labor movement....

 member.) When Coates was replaced by Noel Neill
Noel Neill
Noel Neill is an American actress in motion pictures and television. She is best known as her portrayal of Lois Lane in the film serials Superman and Atom Man vs...

 (who had played Lois Lane in the Kirk Alyn
Kirk Alyn
-External links:...

 serials), Reeves defended her nervousness on her first day when he felt that the director was being too harsh with her. On the other hand, he liked to stand outside camera range, mugging at the other cast members to see if he could break them up. According to Larson, Reeves took on-set photos with his Minox
Minox
The Minox is a subminiature camera conceived in 1922 and invented in 1936 by German-Latvian Walter Zapp, which Latvian factory VEF manufactured from 1937 to 1943. After World War II, the camera was redesigned and production resumed in Germany in 1948. Originally envisioned as a luxury item, it...

 and handed out prints. By all accounts, there was strong camaraderie among the show's actors.

After two seasons, Reeves was dissatisfied with the one-dimensional role and low salary. Now 40 years old, he wished to quit and move on with his career. The producers looked elsewhere for a new star, allegedly contacting Kirk Alyn
Kirk Alyn
-External links:...

, the actor who had first portrayed Superman in the original movie serials and who had initially refused to play the role on television. Alyn turned them down again.

Reeves established his own production company and conceived a TV adventure series, Port of Entry, which would be shot on location in Hawaii and Mexico, writing the pilot script himself. However, Superman producers offered him a salary increase and he returned to the series. He was reportedly making $5,000 per week, but only while the show was in production (about eight weeks each year). As for Port of Entry, Reeves was never able to gain financing for the project, and the show was never made.

In 1957, the producers considered a theatrical film, Superman and the Secret Planet. A script was commissioned from David Chantler, who had written many of the TV scripts. In 1959, however, negotiations began for a renewal of the series, with 26 episodes scheduled to go into production. (John Hamilton
John Hamilton (actor)
John Hamilton was an American actor, who appeared in many movies and television programs. He is probably best remembered for his role as the blustery newspaper editor Perry White on the 1950s television program Adventures of Superman.-Biography:Burly, stentorian-voiced John Hamilton was born John...

, who had played Perry White
Perry White
Perry White is a fictional character who appears in the Superman comics. White is the Editor-in-Chief of the Metropolis newspaper the Daily Planet.White maintains very high ethical and journalistic standards...

, died in 1958, so the former film-serial Perry White Pierre Watkin
Pierre Watkin
Pierre Watkin was an American actor. He was a character actor in many films, serials and TV series from the 1930s through the 1950s, especially westerns...

 was to replace him.)

By mid-1959, contracts were signed, costumes refitted, and new teleplay writers assigned. Noel Neill was quoted as saying that the cast of Superman was ready to do a new series of the still-popular show. Producers reportedly promised Reeves that the new programs would be as serious and action-packed as the first season, guaranteed him creative input, and slated him to direct several of the new shows as he had done with the final three episodes of the 1957 season. In the documentary Look, Up in the Sky: The Amazing Story of Superman, Neill remembered that Reeves was excited to go back to work. Jack Larson, however, told biographer Beaver: "Anyone who thought another season of Superman would make George Reeves happy didn't know George."

Attempting to showcase his versatility, Reeves sang on the Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett is an American singer of popular music, standards, show tunes, and jazz....

 show in August 1956. He appeared on I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy is an American television sitcom starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. The black-and-white series originally ran from October 15, 1951, to May 6, 1957, on the Columbia Broadcasting System...

 (Episode #165, Lucy Meets Superman") in 1956 as Superman. Character actor Ben Welden
Ben Welden
Ben Welden was an American character actor who played a wide variety of Damon Runyon-type gangsters in various movies and television shows...

 had acted with Reeves in the Warner Bros. days and frequently guest-starred on Superman. He said, "After the I Love Lucy show, Superman was no longer a challenge to him.... I know he enjoyed the role, but he used to say, 'Here I am, wasting my life.'" His good friend Bill Walsh
Bill Walsh (producer)
Bill Walsh was a film producer and screenwriter who primarily worked on live-action films for Walt Disney Productions...

, a producer at Disney Studios, gave Reeves a prominent role in Westward Ho, the Wagons!
Westward Ho, The Wagons!
Westward Ho, the Wagons! is a 1956 live-action Disney western film, aimed at family audiences. Based on Mary Jane Carr's novel Children of the Covered Wagon, the film was produced by Bill Walsh, directed by William Beaudine, and released to theatres on December 20, 1956 by Buena Vista Distribution...

 (1956), in which Reeves wore a beard and mustache. It was to be his final feature film appearance.

Reeves, Noel Neill, Natividad Vacío
Natividad Vacío
Natividad Vacío was an American character actor in films and television from the 1950s through the 1980s. Born in Texas, he was of Hispanic ancestry and nearly always played a Hispanic character in his 65 film and television appearances....

, Gene LeBell
Gene LeBell
Ivan Gene LeBell is a former American Judo champion, instructor, stunt performer, stunt coordinator, and professional wrestler born in Los Angeles, California. LeBell has worked on over 1,000 films and TV shows, and has authored a number of books.In 2000, he was promoted to 9th Dan in US Ju-Jitsu...

, and a trio of musicians toured with a public appearance show from 1957 onward. The stage show was a gigantic hit for the excited children who got to see their hero in person, though apparently not a huge moneymaker for Reeves. The first half of the show was a Superman sketch in which Reeves and Neill performed with LeBell as a villain called "Mr. Kryptonite
Kryptonite
Kryptonite is a fictional material from the Superman mythos —the ore form of a radioactive element from Superman's home planet of Krypton. It is famous for being the ultimate physical weakness of Superman, and the word kryptonite has since become synonymous with an Achilles' heel —the one weakness...

", who captured Lois Lane. Kent then rushed offstage to return as Superman, who came to the rescue and fought with the bad guy. The second half of the show was Reeves out of costume and as himself, singing and accompanying himself on the guitar. Vacio and Neill accompanied him in duets.

Reeves and Toni Mannix
Toni Mannix
Toni Mannix was an American actress and dancer in the early talkies. She became notorious for an extramarital relationship with actor George Reeves during her marriage to MGM studio head Eddie Mannix.-Early life:...

 split in 1958 and Reeves announced his engagement to society playgirl Leonore Lemmon. He complained to friends, columnists, and his mother of his financial problems. He received royalties
Royalties
Royalties are usage-based payments made by one party to another for the right to ongoing use of an asset, sometimes an intellectual property...

 from syndication of the Superman show, but these were insubstantial, particularly in view of his lifestyle. Under these circumstances, the planned revival of Superman was apparently a small lifeline. Reeves had also hoped to direct a low-budget science-fiction film written by a friend from his Pasadena Playhouse days, and he had discussed the project with his first Lois Lane, Phyllis Coates, the previous year. However, Reeves and his partner failed to find financing and the film was never made. There was another Superman stage show scheduled for July, and a planned stage tour of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. Reeves had options for making a living, but those options apparently all involved playing Superman again.

Jack Larson and Noel Neill both remembered Reeves as a noble Southern gentleman (even though he was from Iowa) with a sign on his dressing room door that said Honest George, the people's friend. After Reeves had been made an "honorary Colonel
Kentucky colonel
Kentucky colonel is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions for Kentucky colonels are given by the Governor and the Secretary of State to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation...

" during a publicity trip in the South, the sign on his dressing room door was replaced with a new one that read Honest George, also known as "Col. Reeves" created by the show's prop department. A photo of a smiling Reeves and the sign appear in Gary Grossman's book about the show.

Death


According to the Los Angeles Police Department report, between approximately 1:30 and 2:00 a.m. on June 16, 1959, George Reeves died of a gunshot wound to his head in the upstairs bedroom of his Benedict Canyon
Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, California
Benedict Canyon is an area in the City of Los Angeles, California near Sherman Oaks northwest of Beverly Hills.-Geography and history:The Canyon is a ravine in the Santa Monica Mountains that drops in a north to south direction from its high point at the crestline of the Santa Monica Mountains on...

 home.

Police arrived within the hour. Present in the house at the time of death were Leonore Lemmon, William Bliss, writer Robert Condon, and Carol Van Ronkel, who lived a few blocks away with her husband, screenwriter Rip Van Ronkel.

According to these witnesses, Lemmon and Reeves had been dining and drinking earlier in the evening in the company of writer Condon, who was ghostwriting
Ghostwriter
A ghostwriter is a professional writer who is paid to write books, articles, stories, reports, or other texts that are officially credited to another person. Celebrities, executives, and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft or edit autobiographies, magazine articles, or other written...

 an autobiography of prizefighter Archie Moore
Archie Moore
Archie Moore, born Archibald Lee Wright , was light heavyweight world boxing champion who had one of the longest professional careers in the history of that sport....

. Reeves and Lemmon argued at the restaurant, and the trio returned home. However, Lemmon stated in interviews with Reeves's biographer Jim Beaver that she and Reeves had not accompanied friends dining and drinking, but rather to wrestling matches. Contemporaneous news items indicate that Reeves's friend Gene LeBell
Gene LeBell
Ivan Gene LeBell is a former American Judo champion, instructor, stunt performer, stunt coordinator, and professional wrestler born in Los Angeles, California. LeBell has worked on over 1,000 films and TV shows, and has authored a number of books.In 2000, he was promoted to 9th Dan in US Ju-Jitsu...

 was wrestling that night—yet LeBell's own recollections are that he did not see Reeves after a workout session earlier in the day. In any event Reeves went to bed, but some time near midnight an impromptu party began when Bliss and Carol Van Ronkel arrived. Reeves angrily came downstairs and complained about the noise. After blowing off steam, he stayed with the guests for a while, had a drink, and then retired upstairs again in a bad mood.

The house guests later heard a single gunshot. Bliss ran into Reeves's bedroom and found George Reeves dead, lying across his bed, naked and face up, his feet on the floor. This position has been attributed to his sitting on the edge of the bed when he shot himself, after which his body fell back on the bed and the 9mm Luger pistol fell between his feet.

Statements made to police and the press essentially agree. Neither Lemmon nor the other witnesses made any apology for their delay in calling the police after hearing the gunshot; the shock of the death, the lateness of the hour, and their state of intoxication were given as reasons for the delay. Police said that all of the witnesses present were extremely inebriated, and that coherent stories were very difficult to obtain.

In contemporary news articles, Lemmon attributed Reeves's apparent suicide to depression caused by his "failed career" and inability to find more work. The police report states, "[Reeves was]... depressed because he couldn't get the sort of parts he wanted." Newspapers and wire-service reports possibly misquoted LAPD Sergeant V.A. Peterson as saying: "Miss Lemmon blurted, 'He's probably going to go shoot himself.' A noise was heard upstairs. She continued, 'He's opening a drawer to get the gun.' A shot was heard. 'See, I told you so.'"' However, this statement may have been embellished by journalists. Lemmon and her friends were downstairs at the time of the shot with music playing. It would be nearly impossible to hear a drawer opening in the upstairs bedroom. Lemmon later claimed that she had never said anything so specific but rather had made an offhand remark along the lines of "Oh, he'll probably go shoot himself now."

While the official story given by Lemmon to police placed her in the living room with party guests at the time of the shooting, statements from Fred Crane, Reeves's friend and colleague from "Gone With The Wind," put Lenore Lemmon either inside or in direct proximity to the Reeves bedroom, minimally as a witness to the shooting. According to Crane, Bill Bliss had told Millicent Trent that, after the shot rang out, and while Bliss was having a drink, Leonore Lemmon came downstairs and said, “Tell them I was down here, tell them I was down here!” In an interview with Carl Glass, Crane expanded on this: "It needed to be told and that is the way I heard it from Millie as told to her by Bill Bliss. Janet Bliss and Millie were very close friends. I met Millie at Bill and Janet’s house up in Benedict Canyon on Easton Drive. We lived on the same street."

Witness statements and examination of the crime scene led to official inquiry conclusion that the death was suicide. Reeves's will, dated 1956, bequeathed his entire estate to Toni Mannix, much to Lemmon's surprise and devastation. Her statement to the press read, "Toni got a house for charity, and I got a broken heart", referring to the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation.

Reeves is interred at Mountain View Cemetery and Mausoleum in Altadena, California
Altadena, California
Altadena is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Los Angeles County, California, United States, approximately from the downtown Los Angeles Civic Center, and directly north of the city of Pasadena, California...

. In 1985, he was posthumously named as one of the honorees by DC Comics in the company's 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great
Fifty Who Made DC Great
Fifty Who Made DC Great is a one shot published by DC Comics to commemorate the company's 50th anniversary in 1985. It was published in comic book format but contained text articles with photographs and background caricatures...

.

Controversy


Many people have refused to believe that George Reeves would kill himself and have pointed out that no gunpowder from the gun's discharge was found on the actor's skin, leading them to believe that the weapon would therefore have to have been held several inches from the head upon firing; however, forensic professionals say that gunpowder tattooing is left only when the weapon is not in contact with the skin while Reeves' skull fracture pattern shows that it was a contact wound. Followers of the case also point to the absence of fingerprints on the gun and of gunshot-residue testing on the actor's hands as evidence in support of one theory or another. Police, however, found the gun too thickly coated in oil to hold fingerprints, and gunshot-residue testing was not commonly performed by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1959.

Reeves's incredulous mother, Helen Bessolo, employed attorney Jerry Giesler and the Nick Harris Detective Agency. Their operatives included a fledgling detective named Milo Speriglio, who would later falsely claim to have been the primary investigator. A cremation of Reeves's body was postponed. No substantial new evidence was ever uncovered, but Reeves's mother never accepted the conclusion that her son had committed suicide. She also publicly denied that her son planned to marry Leonore Lemmon, because he had never told her. However, he had allegedly announced the engagement to his friends and occasionally called her "my wife."

A later article quoted "pallbearers" at Reeves's funeral (actors Alan Ladd
Alan Ladd
-Early life:Ladd was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He was the only child of Ina Raleigh Ladd and Alan Ladd, Sr. He was of English ancestry. His father died when he was four, and his mother relocated to Oklahoma City where she married Jim Beavers, a housepainter...

 and Gig Young
Gig Young
Gig Young was an American film, stage, and television actor. Known mainly for second leads and supporting roles, Young won an Academy Award for his performance as a dance-marathon emcee in the 1969 film, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?.-Early life and career:Born Byron Elsworth Barr in St...

) who said that Reeves was not the type to commit suicide. However, neither of these men actually served as pallbearers, and only one, Young, was a friend of Reeves. "Anti-suicide" proponents argue that Reeves would have no desire to end his life with so many prospects in sight.

In the partially fictional Reeves biography Hollywood Kryptonite Reeves is murdered by order of Toni Mannix as punishment for their breakup. This is illustrated as a potential scenario in Hollywoodland
Hollywoodland
Hollywoodland is a 2006 American biographical docudrama film directed by Allen Coulter in his feature directorial debut. The film documents a fictional account of the investigation surrounding the death of actor George Reeves , the star of the 1950s television series Adventures of Superman. Adrien...

, with the blame more clearly leveled at Eddie Mannix than at Toni, although the film ultimately suggests the death was a suicide. However, the authors of Hollywood Kryptonite were forced to create a "hit man" to make the plot of their book work, though there was no proof of such a hit man.

In the Grossman book, Jack Larson was quoted as having accepted that it was suicide. Although he suggested in a 1982 Entertainment Tonight/This Weekend interview that he had momentarily questioned the verdict based on friend's comment, he has stated publicly on several occasions that he always believed that Reeves had killed himself and that quotations implying that he ever believed otherwise were either in error or falsified. "Jack and I never really tried to get anyone to re-open George's death," Noel Neill said. "I am not aware of anyone who wanted George dead. I never said I thought George was murdered. I just don't know what happened. All I know is that George always seemed happy to me, and I saw him two days before he died and he was still happy then."


Hollywoodland
Hollywoodland
Hollywoodland is a 2006 American biographical docudrama film directed by Allen Coulter in his feature directorial debut. The film documents a fictional account of the investigation surrounding the death of actor George Reeves , the star of the 1950s television series Adventures of Superman. Adrien...

 dramatizes the investigation of Reeves's death. The movie stars Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck
Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt , better known as Ben Affleck, is an American actor, film director, writer, and producer. He became known with his performances in Kevin Smith's films such as Mallrats and Chasing Amy...

 as Reeves and Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody is an American actor and film producer. He received widespread recognition and acclaim after starring in Roman Polanski's The Pianist . Winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2003 at age 29, he is the youngest actor to do so...

 as fictional investigator Louis Simo, suggested by real-life detective Milo Speriglio. The movie shows three versions of his death: killed semi-accidentally by Lemmon, murdered by an unnamed hitman under orders from Eddie Mannix, and, finally, suicide.

Toni Mannix suffered from Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death...

 for years and died in 1983. In 1999, following the resurrection of the Reeves case by TV shows Unsolved Mysteries
Unsolved Mysteries
Unsolved Mysteries is an American television program, hosted by Robert Stack, from 1987 until 2002, and later by Dennis Farina, starting in 2008...

 and Mysteries and Scandals
Mysteries and Scandals
Mysteries and Scandals is an American television program hosted by A.J. Benza. The series was originally broadcast on the E! network from March 1998 until February 2001.-Synopsis:...

, Los Angeles publicist Edward Lozzi
Edward Lozzi
Edward Lozzi is an American publicist, political consultant and writer. He is the founder of a Beverly Hills-based public relations company. He is an occasional contributor to The Huffington Post...

 claimed that Toni Mannix had confessed to a Catholic priest in Lozzi's presence that she was responsible for having George Reeves killed. Lozzi made the claim on TV tabloid shows, including Extra
Extra (TV series)
Extra is an American entertainment television news program covering events and celebrities which debuted on September 5, 1994 in syndication. It is produced at Victory Studios in Glendale, California by Telepictures Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television Distribution...

, Inside Edition
Inside Edition
Inside Edition is a thirty-minute American television syndicated news program, first aired on CBS on October 9, 1988. It was originally similar to the programs Hard Copy and A Current Affair, but now more closely resembles a condensed version of breakfast television, exclusively with pre-recorded...

, and Court TV
Court TV
truTV is an American cable television network owned by Turner Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Time Warner. The network launched as Court TV in 1991, changing to truTV in 2008...

. In the wake of Hollywoodlands publicity in 2006, Mr. Lozzi repeated his story to the tabloid The Globe
The Globe (tabloid)
Globe is a supermarket tabloid first published North America on November 10, 1954 in Montreal, Canada as Midnight by Joe Azaria and John Vader and became the chief competitor to the National Enquirer during the 1960s. In 1978 it changed its name to the Midnight Globe after its publisher, Globe...

 and to the LA Times, where the statement was refuted by Jack Larson. Larson stated that facts he knew from his close friendship with Toni Mannix precluded Lozzi's story from being true. According to Lozzi, he lived with and then visited the elderly Mannix from 1979 to 1982, and that on at least a half-dozen occasions he called a priest when Mrs. Mannix feared death and wanted to confess her sins. Mannix suffered from Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia, but Lozzi insists that her "confession" was made during a period of lucidity in Mannix's home before she was moved from her house to a hospital. Mannix lived in a hospital suite for the last several years of her life, having donated a large portion of her estate a priori to the hospital in exchange for perpetual care. Lozzi also told of Tuesday night prayer sessions that Toni Mannix conducted with him and others at an altar shrine to George Reeves which she had built in her home. Lozzi stated, "During these prayer sessions she prayed loudly and trance-like to Reeves and God, and without confessing yet, asked them for forgiveness." Lozzi's claim, however, is unsupported by independent evidence.

Filmography

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1939 Espionage Agent
Espionage Agent
Espionage Agent is a pre–World War II spy melodrama produced by Hal B. Wallis in 1939. Directed by Lloyd Bacon, Espionage Agent, like many Warner Bros. movies, clearly identifies the Germans as the enemy...

Warrington's secretary Uncredited
1939 On Dress Parade
On Dress Parade
On Dress Parade is a 1939 Warner Bros. film that marked the first time The Dead End Kids headlined a film without any other well-known actors.-Plot:...

Southern soldier in trench Uncredited
1939 Gone with the Wind
Gone with the Wind (film)
Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American historical epic film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel of the same name. It was produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Victor Fleming from a screenplay by Sidney Howard...

Stuart Tarleton – Scarlett's beau Credited erroneously onscreen as playing Brent Tarleton (see above)
1940 Jack O'Keefe Uncredited
1940 Virginia City
Virginia City (film)
Virginia City is a 1940 black-and-white movie starring Errol Flynn, Miriam Hopkins, and Randolph Scott, and featuring a mustachioed Humphrey Bogart in the role of the real-life outlaw John Murrell. The film was directed by Michael Curtiz...

Major Drewery's telegrapher Uncredited
1940 Tear Gas Squad Joe McCabe
1940 Jimmy Coburn
1940 Torrid Zone
Torrid Zone
Torrid Zone is a 1940 adventure film starring James Cagney, Ann Sheridan and Pat O'Brien.-Plot summary:Steve Case has to deal with trouble at his tropical fruit company's Central American banana plantation...

Sancho, Rosario's Henchman
1940 Knute Rockne, All American
Knute Rockne, All American
Knute Rockne, All American is a 1940 biographical film which tells the story of Knute Rockne, Notre Dame football coach. It stars Pat O'Brien, Ronald Reagan, Gale Page, Donald Crisp, Albert Bassermann, Owen Davis, Jr., Nick Lukats, Kane Richmond, William Marshall and William Byrne. It also...

Distraught Player (Uncredited) Alternative title: A Modern Hero
1941 Harold
1941 Blood and Sand
Blood and Sand (1941 film)
Blood and Sand is a Technicolor film produced by 20th Century Fox, directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Rita Hayworth, and Alla Nazimova...

Captain Pierre Lauren
1941 Lydia
Lydia (film)
Lydia is a 1941 drama film, directed by Julien Duvivier. It stars Merle Oberon as Lydia MacMillan, a woman whose life is seen from her spoiled, immature youth through bitter and resentful middle years, until at last she is old and accepting...

Bob Willard Alternative title: Illusions
1941 Dead Men Tell Bill Lydig
1942 Border Patrol
Border Patrol (1943 film)
Border Patrol is a 1943 Western film starring Hopalong Cassidy . Released on April 2, 1943, it was produced by Harry Sherman and directed by Lesley Selander. Hopalong's trusty sidekicks appear: California Carlson and the young cowpoke Johnny, this time played by Jay Kirby. Other players destined...

Don Enrique Perez
1942 Sex Hygiene
Sex Hygiene
Sex Hygiene is a 1942 documentary film directed by John Ford and Otto Brower. It belonged to the instructional social guidance film genre, which offered adolescent and adult behavioural advice, medical information and moral exhortations.-Plot:...

Pool player #1 U.S. Army documentary
1943 So Proudly We Hail!
So Proudly We Hail!
So Proudly We Hail! is a 1943 film directed by Mark Sandrich, and starring Claudette Colbert, Paulette Goddard – who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance – and Veronica Lake...

Lt. John Summers
1944 Winged Victory
Winged Victory (film)
Winged Victory is a 1944 drama film directed by George Cukor, a joint effort of 20th Century Fox and the U.S. Army Air Forces. Based upon the successful play with the same name by Moss Hart, who also wrote the screenplay, the film only opened after the play's theatre run.-Plot:Frankie Davis , Allan...

Lt. Thompson Credited as Sgt. George Reeves
1945 Airborne Lifeboat Pilot
1947 Champagne for Two Jerry Malone Alternative title: Musical Parade: Champagne for Two
1948 Jungle Goddess Mike Patton A film later featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000
Mystery Science Theater 3000
Mystery Science Theater 3000 is an American cult television comedy series created by Joel Hodgson and produced by Best Brains, Inc., that ran from 1988 to 1999....

1948 Thunder in the Pines Jeff Collins
1948 The Sainted Sisters
The Sainted Sisters
The Sainted Sisters is a 1948 comedy film starring Veronica Lake and co-starring Joan Caulfield, Barry Fitzgerald, George Reeves, William Demarest and Beulah Bondi...

Sam Stoakes played the romantic interest of Veronica Lake
Veronica Lake
Veronica Lake was an American film actress and pin-up model. She received both popular and critical acclaim, most notably for her role in Sullivan's Travels and her femme fatale roles in film noir with Alan Ladd during the 1940s, and was well-known for her peek-a-boo hairstyle...

1949 Williams
1949 Samson and Delilah
Samson and Delilah (1949 film)
Samson and Delilah is a 1949 film made by Paramount Pictures , produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr as the title characters...

Wounded messenger
1950 Stuart Nagle
1951 Superman and the Mole Men
Superman and the Mole Men
Superman and the Mole Men is a 1951 superhero film starring George Reeves as Superman and Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane. It is the first theatrical feature film based on the DC Comics character Superman, although two live-action Superman films had already been shown in cinemas, they appeared in a...

Superman/Clark Kent Alternative title: Superman and the Strange People
1952 Rancho Notorious
Rancho Notorious
Rancho Notorious is a 1952 Western shot in Technicolor, directed by Fritz Lang and starring Marlene Dietrich as the matron of a criminal hideout called Chuck-a-Luck...

Wilson
1953 Police Capt. Sam Haynes
1953 From Here to Eternity
From Here to Eternity
From Here to Eternity is a 1953 drama film directed by Fred Zinnemann and based on the novel of the same name by James Jones. It deals with the troubles of soldiers, played by Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra and Ernest Borgnine stationed on Hawaii in the months leading up to the...

Sgt. Maylon Stark Uncredited
1954 Stamp Day for Superman
Stamp Day for Superman
Stamp Day for Superman is a 1954 black-and-white short film starring George Reeves as Superman and Noel Neill as Lois Lane. It was produced by Superman Inc. for the United States Department of the Treasury to promote the purchase of U.S. Savings Bonds...

Superman/Clark Kent
1956 Westward Ho, the Wagons!
Westward Ho, The Wagons!
Westward Ho, the Wagons! is a 1956 live-action Disney western film, aimed at family audiences. Based on Mary Jane Carr's novel Children of the Covered Wagon, the film was produced by Bill Walsh, directed by William Beaudine, and released to theatres on December 20, 1956 by Buena Vista Distribution...

James Stephen

Television
Year Title Role Notes
1949 2 episodes
1949–
1950
Suspense Bill Reed 4 episodes
1951–
1958
Adventures of Superman
Adventures of Superman (TV series)
Adventures of Superman is an American television series based on comic book characters and concepts created in 1938 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The show is the first television series to feature Superman and began filming in 1951 in California...

Superman/Clark Kent 104 episodes
1952 Fireside Theater
Fireside Theater
Fireside Theater is an American anthology drama series that ran from on NBC from 1949 to 1958, and was the first successful filmed series on American television. Stories were low budget and often based on public domain stories or written by freelance writers such as Rod Serling. While it was panned...

John Carter 1 episode
1952 Ford Theatre
Ford Theatre
Ford Theatre was a radio and television anthology series broadcast in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s. At various times the television series appeared on all three major television networks, while the radio version was broadcast on two separate networks and on two separate coasts...

James Lindsey – Father 1 episode
1957 I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy
I Love Lucy is an American television sitcom starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. The black-and-white series originally ran from October 15, 1951, to May 6, 1957, on the Columbia Broadcasting System...

Superman Episode: "Lucy and Superman"

Further reading

  • Daniels, Les & Kahn, Jenette, DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes, Bulfinch, 1995 ISBN 0821220764
  • Grossman, Gary Superman: Serial to Cereal, Popular Library, 1977 ISBN 0445040548
  • Henderson, Jan Alan, Speeding Bullet, M. Bifulco, 1999 ISBN 0961959649
  • Henderson, Jan Alan & Randisi, Steve, Behind the Crimson Cape, M. Bifulco, 2005 ISBN 096195966
  • Kashner, Sam & Schoenberger, Nancy Hollywood Kryptonite, St. Martin's Mass Market Paper, 1996 ISBN 03129640215
  • Neill, Noel & Ward, Larry, Truth, Justice and the American Way, Nicholas Lawrence Books, 2003 ISBN 0972946608

External links