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Hollywood Memorial

George Reeves Superman

Actor best remembered for his role of ‘Superman’ in the 1950s television series of the same name. His actual birth date is January 5, but when he was growing up his mother lied to him, telling him it was April 5,1914, since this would place his birth at nine months after her marriage. He did not discover this until he was an adult. To make confusion worse, his mother made a mistake on his burial marker, listing his birth date as January 6 instead of January 5. An amateur boxer and skilled musician, he began his acting career at the Pasadena Playhouse, where he was discovered by Hollywood talent scouts. His first movie was ‘Ride, Cowboy, Ride’; although it is in the role of Stuart Tarleton, one of Scarlet O’Hara’s suitors in ‘Gone With The Wind,’ that he is most remembered for in his early film career. He found steady work in the period 1939 to 1943, appearing in over 40 films starring as the title role in ‘Superman and the Mole Men’ in 1951. This film got him noticed, and he was offered the title role in the upcoming television series, ‘The Adventures of Superman’ (1952-1957). Afterwards, he got a few film and television roles, and since he had been typecast as ‘Superman,’ his acting offers soon dried up. Although he was depressed with being stereotyped as ‘Superman,’ he took the role model aspects seriously, giving up smoking and not making any appearances around children with any of his girlfriends. In the early morning hours of June 16, 1959, three days before his scheduled wedding to Lenore Lemmon, a gun shot was heard, and he was soon discovered dead with a wound to the head. An official inquiry returned the verdict of suicide, however, since his death, additional information makes many believe it was murder. He apparently had a long-term affair with Toni Lanier, a former showgirl and wife of MGM executive E. J. Mannix. She was known for her beauty and legendary sexual appetite, and the affair apparently had the approval of her husband, EJ Mannix, who had a mistress of his own. Five months before Reeves was to be married to Lenore Lemmon, he broke off the affair with Toni, which left her reportedly broken hearted and very angry. Toni would remain devoted to the memory of Reeves for the rest of her life. Cause of death at age 45 – suicide or murder by gunshot, but we will never know for sure. His ashes are on a shelf at Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, California with the urn inscribed ‘My Beloved Son Superman’, a characterization he could not even escape in death.