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George Reeves as Superman
Who killed TV's Superman?
by Billy Ingram

George Reeves as SupermanAlmost every kid who grew up in the 1960s heard a story of how George Reeves died. Depending on which version you heard, TV's Superman, thinking he was the character he portrayed (or despondent over being typecast), jumped off a building to see if he really could fly (or put a gun to his head and shot himself).

The coroner's report officially ruled the death a suicide, stating that the star was killed by a single gunshot to the head in the early morning hours of June 16, 1959.

George Reeves photoTruth is, we may never know the whole story; intrigue and confusion cloud the issue to this day. Many people who have taken a hard look at the case agree that murder, not suicide, was a much more likely scenario.

George Reeves was a moderately successful film actor in 1951 when he accepted the role of Superman in the feature film Superman and the Mole Men. A television series underwritten by Kellogg's for first-run syndication was put into production with the same cast just a few days after filming on the feature concluded.



Death of George Reeves / TV's SupermanWhen The Adventures of Superman debuted in late 1952, it was a big hit, by far the most imaginative and exciting adventure series the medium had ever seen.

Even though there were no color televisions available to the public, in 1954 The Adventures of Superman became only the second TV series to be filmed in color (Cisco Kid was the first). This was a prescient move undertaken to make the show more commercially viable in the future.

When the series ceased production after six successful seasons, George Reeves found himself typecast as the Man of Steel and good roles became scarce. Despite a couple of lean years, things began to turn around in 1959.

George Reeves, TV's SupermanThe producers of The Adventures of Superman decided to film another season's worth of shows in 1960 and Reeves agreed to return, signing on with a hefty raise. He was scheduled to shoot a film in Spain, and was to be married to his fiancee Lenore Lemmon on June 19, 1959 - just three days after his supposed suicide.

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