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If you’re a fan of curses that echo throughout Tinseltown, then you’ve probably heard of the Superman Curse. Here's what we know about George Reeves.

Was Superman murdered? The mysterious death of George Reeves

If you’re a fan of curses that echo throughout Tinseltown, then you’ve probably heard of the Superman Curse. The Superman Curse is related to any misfortune that plagues those connected to Superman-related properties, especially those who star as the titular hero. The curse, for those who believe in it, originated with the death of George Reeves, whose death is still puzzling people to this day.

From 1951 to 1958, George Reeves played Superman in both a live-action movie and popular television series. When the series ended, however, Reeves was too closely associated with the role to find other work, which is another factor of the curse. Then, on June 16, 1959, days before his wedding to society playgirl Leonore Lemmon, he was found dead. 

It leaves people with this unanswered lingering thought: Was it suicide or murder? 

“The boy is dead.”

It was the early morning hours of June 16th when a gunshot rang out from the upstairs bedroom at Reeves’ home in Benedict Canyon. Within the hour, police were on the scene. Present in the house at the time of Reeves’ death were Lemmon, William Bliss, writer Robert Condon, and neighbor Carol Van Ronkel. 

Reports vary about what happened earlier in the night. Some said that Lemmon, Condon, and Reeves went out to dinner, where Lemmon and Reeves argued. Lemmon, however, later told Reeves’ biographer that there was no dinner. Instead, they went to a wrestling match as Condon was ghostwriting the autobiography of prizefighter Archie Moore.

Either way, the three returned to the house where Reeves went to bed. Around midnight, Bliss and Van Ronkel showed up and an impromptu party broke out with the four. Reeves, annoyed by the noise, headed downstairs to complain about the noise. He stayed for a bit, had a drink, and returned to his bedroom still in a foul mood.

Shortly after, the group heard a gunshot. Bliss found Reeves’ body with a .30 caliber Luger pistol at his feet and a gunshot wound to his head. There was a delay between the discovery of the body and calling the police. None of those at the scene made an apology for the delay in notification, citing the hour, the shock, and intoxication as their reasons. 

The official cause of death for Reeves was ruled a suicide. 

“An element of mystery”

Reeves’ death may have been ruled a suicide, but not everyone believed it. While Reeves was depressed at the time of his death, there were oddities at the crime scene. Three shots were fired in the room: two on the floor and one in Reeves’ head. 

Reeves’ mother refused to believe the suicide theory. She hired attorney Jerry Giesler to get the case reopened. Giesler got a second autopsy, which found bruising on the head and body of Reeves. 

Then there were the morbid comments that Lemmon reportedly said at the time of his death. When Reeves went upstairs, she said, “He’s going upstairs to shoot himself.” She described as Reeves got the gun and when a gunshot rang out she said, “I told you, he’s shot himself.” 

No fingerprints were found on the gun and there was no gun residue test performed on Reeves’ hands. After a month on the case, Giesler declared that he was “satisfied” it was a suicide and refused to investigate further. Many see the departure of Giesler, who was paid a lot of money by Reeves’ mother, as suspicious as well. 

Plus, there were people who wanted Reeves dead. His jilted lover Toni Mannix was first in line.

Theories

Mannix, a woman married to MGM studio “fixer” Eddie Mannix, and Reeves had a serious affair with her. He dumped her for Lemmon, which reportedly left Mannix devastated. The Mannix theory posits that she had her husband “fix” Reeves on her behalf or that Mannix snuck into the home of Reeves and her husband merely cleaned up the scene. 

There was no forced entry at the crime scene though. But, well, a good hitman can probably get around it. Mannix, reportedly, had ties to the mafia. In 1999, an LA publicist Edward Lozzi said that Mannix confessed to a priest in front of him as having a role in Reeves’ death. This statement has been disputed by Jack Larson, a close friend of Mannix’s. 

Another theory is that Lemmon shot Reeves. According to Reeves’ friend Fred Crane, who heard from Millicent Trent who heard from William Bliss, that Lemmon was upstairs when the shot rang out. She reportedly ran downstairs yelling, “Tell them I was down here! Tell them I was down here!” 

All three theories were made into a film Hollywoodland, which puts forth the following: an accidental shooting by Lemmon, a murder by Mannix, and a suicide. The truth behind Reeves’ death will probably always remain unknown.

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Comments
  • it amazes me that over 60 years later this resonates. Thanks for sharing

    April 22, 2020
  • The no fingerprints on the gun & bruises are really suspicious

    July 11, 2020
  • I think George Reeves was murdered.. I can’t believe that it was not investigated. Omg. Why would he killed himself when he was doing so well with his career..it’s crazy and he was still so young.

    September 20, 2020
  • I heard and it was proven that the the way the gun was angle to his head he did killed himself

    November 7, 2020
  • It appears there are three theories. First he killed himself, then why was the bullet under his body, and why was there a total of three bullet holes in the room. Second, his Lamare girlfriend, gold digger had a rage and accidentally shot him. Third was Mrs, Mannix who paid for his home, got him a job as Superman, took him on numerous elaborate expensive vacations, gave him cash and an allowance only to be dumped by him for Ms Lamare. She Mrs Manix hoped her husband head of MGM who had numerous heart issues would die and Superman would move in Mrs Manix on her death dead admitted she had a hand in getting Reeves killed. She also called her best female friend the day Reeves was killed and told her before it was known that Reeves was dead.

    November 15, 2020
  • The shell case not the bullet was found under Mr. Reeves. That said, what about the two bullets found imbedded in the floor, as if someone tried to test where the bullets might go under certain conditions. Mr. Reeves only (supposedly) was heard to fire only once. Reeves thought a lot of the kids who loved his shows and I believe he would never let the kids down. The actions of all those involved who were at that location were suspect and the mob connections along with a Hollywood mogul makes it more than suspicious. I doubt these people were grilled enough to make anyone of them spill the beans or at least give up any important info. Even worse, no power residue and no mention ever made about powder burns directly against Georges head made this look to me that this was covered up by both the perps and the police due to the powers involved.

    November 17, 2020
  • Another Thing if he was Right Handed why did he shoot himself on the left side of his Head thats something to think about

    November 24, 2020
  • Here is something to think about if he was Right Handed why did he shoot himself on the left side of his head?

    November 24, 2020
  • Pielegnuj swoje marzenia. Trzymaj sie swoich idealow. Maszeruj smialo wedlug e-muzyki, ktora tylko Ty slyszysz.

    February 5, 2021
  • The way this goes he was killed off. He never killed himself. No way! And these cops sure didn’t do anything to find out just what happened.

    June 13, 2021

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