Facts about George Reeves

George Reeves died at 45 years old
Born: January 5, 1914
Best known as: Superman on the 1950s TV series



George Reeves Biography

Name at birth: George Keefer Brewer

George Reeves is the actor most famous for playing comic-book hero Superman on the 1950s TV series The Adventures of Superman.

George Reeves was working at the Pasadena Community Playhouse when he was cast as southern suitor Stuart Tarelton in the epic Gone With the Wind (1939, with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh). He appeared in over three dozen movies after that, including a bit part alongside Ronald Reagan in 1940’s Knute Rockne, All-American and another small part alongside Burt Lancaster in the 1953 hit From Here to Eternity.

Then Reeves hit it big on TV as Superman. The Adventures of Superman aired from 1952 to 1957 and made Reeves a familiar face across America. His Superman bod was a bit more rotund than later bulked-up superheroes, but he became so popular that he began to worry about being type-cast as the Man of Steel. (According to liner notes on Columbia TriStar’s VHS release of From Here to Eternity, George Reeves “had a major part in the film until he was severely cut from the release print when preview audiences exclaimed, ‘There’s Superman!'”)

Reeves died of a gunshot wound to the head in 1959 during a drinking party at his own home, and his death was ruled a suicide. The widespread explanation was his despondency over his career. Some controversy still swirls around George Reeves’s death. Police ruled the death a suicide, but nobody witnessed the shooting, and some fans feel that other evidence indicates Reeves was murdered. A 2006 movie about the mystery, Hollywoodland, starred Ben Affleck as Reeves.

George Reeves made his final film appearance in 1956, in the Disney feature Westward Ho The Wagons! His other film credits include Blood and Sand (1941), Rancho Notorious (1952, starring Marlene Dietrich) and Forever Female (1953, starring William Holden).

Extra credit

George Reeves was 6’2″ tall, according to his obituary in The Los Angeles Times… George Reeves was no relation to Steve Reeves (the bodybuilder who played Hercules on film in the 1950s) or to actor Christopher Reeve, who later played Superman in feature films… George Reeves married the former Ellanora Needles in 1940. They had no children and were divorced in 1950.


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