The Man of Steel mystery: Was George Reeves murdered 50 years ago today?


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Look past the bright spotlights and you’ll notice that Hollywood history is drenched in scandal and haunted by heartbreak. Take the case of George Reeves, who died of a gunshot to the head 50 years ago today at his home in Benedict Canyon.

It was reported and ruled a suicide, a heartbreaking end in light of the children around America who had cheered Reeves as make-believe bullets bounced off his chest on ‘Adventures of Superman’ from 1952 through 1958. The actor’s death, though, has taken on more grim layers through the years amid persistant arguments that the 45-year-old was actually a victim of murder.


There has been much written about this through the years and it’s a compelling riddle. Theories abound but, as with so many unsolved mysteries, dust and legend gather as the years pass and the truth becomes ever more elusive.

Here are some videos of the actor who, for a whole generation, was able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

--Geoff Boucher


See the 1959 L.A. Times coverage of George Reeves death

More footage of the caped George Reeves and the trailer for ‘Hollywoodland’

<<< A look back: Superman on Broadway in 1966

The Superman problem: Can he still fly in 21st century?

The sordid secret of ‘Superman’ co-creator Joe Shuster

First Superman comic book sold for $317,200

Photos from the Los Angeles Times archives.