Was The Original Superman, George Reeves Murdered?

The Adventures of Superman George Reeves, 1952-1958
Everett Collection

When famous celebrities die suddenly, it is natural for human curiosity to wonder what truly happened. In 1959, George Reeves, who became a star as the original Clark Kent/Superman on television, passed away. It was said that he died by suicide but many people still believe that he was murdered. Although the entire story remains a mystery, let’s go over the facts that we do know about his strange death.

Just a year after the television series Adventures of Superman ended, Phyllis Coates (who played Lois Lane in the series) received a very strange call. It was from a woman named Toni Mannix (whom Reeves had been having an affair with as she was the wife of MGM general manager Eddie Mannix) and she said, “The boy is dead. He’s been murdered.” Turns out, she was referring to Reeves, who had been found dead in his bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head. There was a party going on at the time, and some say that he committed suicide because of depression and his inability to find another gig after playing Superman.

The Adventures of Superman George Reeves, Phyllis Coates, (1952-1953), 1952-1958

Everett Collection

After his death was ruled a suicide, his mother could not accept it and asked for the case to be reinvestigated as a homicide. They found no additional evidence that would support his death being a murder and she withdrew her request. Even so, some still believe that he was murdered.

The Adventures of Superman George Reeves, 1952-58

Everett Collection

Some people believe that it could have been Eddie Mannix who had him killed as he was rumored to have connections with the Mob. However, he was also having affairs and by the time Reeves died, he had been dating another woman named Leonore Lemmon, who was there that night. She reportedly began telling party guests that her lover was going to shoot himself and when they heard a gunshot, she said, “I told you, he’s shot himself.” She later said she was “only kidding.”

What do you think about this strange case? All in all, very sad for a talented star who could have done so much more in his life. He was just 45 years old when he died.

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August 2020

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