Saturday, July 14, 2012

Another famous ghost

George Reeves made his most famous film appearance in 1939, when he appeared as Stuart Tarleton in Gone with the Wind. A string of forgettable movies followed, in which Reeves was a supporting player, sometimes uncredited.

Stardom came when Reeves was cast in the title role in the TV show Adventures of Superman. (There is a common misconception that Reeves was the father of the late Christopher Reeve, who played Superman in several movies during the 1970s and 1980s. In truth, the two weren't related in any way.) He took his part so seriously that, aware of his effect on young viewers, he quit smoking and not making public appearances with his girlfriends when children were to be present.

The show ran from 1952 to 1958, and Reeves even made an appearance as Superman on I Love Lucy. The series was canceled in 1959, but was due for a revival for the 1960 - 61 season.

It would never happen. In the early morning of June 16, 1959, George Reeves went to his bedroom, claiming that he was tired. His fiancee, Leonore Lemmon, was in the house, along with a few friends. At around 2 a.m., they heard a gunshot - yet it took them 45 minutes to call the police. Reeves' death is still regarded as suspicious:

- He was shot in the temple, yet there were no powder burns around the wound, which suggested that the gun had been held away from his head.

- He was lying on the bed, but the gun was found between his feet.

- The spent shell from the gun was found under his body.

- His body showed several bruises.

- There were no fingerprints on the gun.

However, all concerned with the case are dead; Leonore died in 1990, and Toni Mannix - his former girlfriend, thought to have been so jealous of Leonore that she hired a gunman to kill Reeves - died in 1983.

Reeves hasn't rested easily. He has been seen in his former bedroom, wearing the Superman costume that made him so famous. He then disappears slowly.

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