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Who Killed George Reeves, the Original Superman

If you’re a fan of spooky, mysterious Hollywood legends, then you’ve probably heard about the supposed ‘Superman Curse’. The curse pertains to any unfortunate fate that befalls those connected to the Superman franchise. Especially those who star as the Man of Steel himself.

The curse, for the uninitiated, originated after the untimely death of George Reeves. The mysterious circumstances surrounding his death still puzzle people to this day. George played Superman on television and in films between 1951 and 1958. When the popular Superman television series came to a close, Reeves found himself typecast in the role and found it exceedingly difficult to find other work. Which, mind you, some might say is another component of the alleged curse.

On June 16, 1959, just a few days before he set to marry high-society playgirl Leonore Lemmon. He found dead in his bedroom with a single gunshot wound to the head. For years, people have left with the unanswered question: Was his death a suicide or was he a victim of murder? Well, let’s take a look at both possibilities and see how they stack up the available evidence and witness testimony. Join Facts Verse to know more the details about who killed the original superman , George Reeves.

The Scene Of His Death Was Horrific 

Early in the morning hours of June 16th, multiple gunshots rang out from the upstairs bedroom at Reeves’ Benedict Canyon Home. About an hour later, the police arrived at the scene and started investigating. Home at the time of his death were Lemmon, William Bliss, novelist Robert Condon, and next-door neighbor Carol Van Ronkel.

There are conflicting reports about what happened that evening. One account says that Condon, Reeves, and Lemmon went out to dinner that evening. While out on the town, Reeves and Lemmon may have gotten into some kind of argument. But Lemmon later told a Reeves’ biographer years later that they didn’t go out to dinner that evening. But instead went to a wrestling match since Condon was ghostwriting an autobiography for prizefighter Archie Moore.

Regardless of those details, the three arrived back at the house and Reeves went straight to bed. Around midnight Bliss and Von Ronkel showed up to the house and a little party of sorts broke between the four. Reeves reportedly very perturbed by all the noise and headed downstairs to give his ‘guests’ a piece of his mind. He stuck around for a bit and had a drink. But eventually went back to his bedroom while still in a pretty cruddy mood.

Not long after he slammed his bedroom door, the group of revelers heard the distinct sound of a gunshot. Bliss then discovered Reeves’ body next to a .30 caliber Luger pistol. He had a gunshot wound to his head.  Join Facts Verse to know more the details about who killed the original superman , George Reeves.

It might be worth noting that there is a documented gap between the time that his body discovered and when the police called. Nor did anybody at the house make any attempt at an apology for delaying the notification. They blamed the late hour of the night, their initial state of shock, and inebriation as reasons for not calling it in sooner.

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And don’t you dare think about going anywhere so soon. Stick around to see who, if anyone, might have had reason to kill the original Superman George Reeves. Once you find out who his enemies were, you just might warm up to the idea that he wasn’t the one to pull that trigger. 

His Death Ruled A Suicide 

While the authorities officially declared Reeves’ death to be a suicide, not everyone was willing to accept that conclusion. While it’s true that Reeves depressed at the time of his death, there were some inconsistencies at the crime scene that raised some red flags not only back then but still to this day. For one thing, three shots fired in Reeves’ bedroom. Two fired at the floor while the other one obviously went into Reeves’ head. So what’s the deal with the first two? We’re they just hesitation shots or did some kind of struggle go down? 

Reeves’ own mother infamously refused to buy into the suicide theory. She employed the assistance of attorney Jerry Giesler to get the case reopened. Giesler managed to secure a second autopsy in Cincinnati, Ohio which found previously undiscovered and unexplained bruising on Reeves’ head and body.

Then there is the fact that Lemmon made some really morbid comments at the time of George’s death. When Reeves stormed upstairs, she said something about him going upstairs to shoot himself. She then explained that he was probably grabbing his gun out of his nightstand. When a gunshot rang out she coldly declared ‘I told you. He’s shot himself’,

When the cops arrived on the scene, Lemmon changed her tune. And told them that she had only been kidding when she made her bizarre remarks.

Even stranger is the fact that no fingerprints found on the gun. And there’s never a residue test performed to confirm that it was Reeves’ finger that pulled the trigger. After just one month of being on the case, Giesler announced that he satisfied with the suicide verdict and ceased investigating any further. A lot of people see the fact that Giesler suddenly closed the case coupled with the fact that he paid quite a hefty sum of money by Reeves’ mom as suspicious as well. Did he come too close to the truth and spooked? Perhaps.

And there’s the fact there were legitimately more than a few people out there that wanted to see Reeves dead. And George’s spurned ex-lover Toni Mannix was first on that list. Join Facts Verse to know more the details about who killed the original superman , George Reeves.

Potential Theories

Mannix married to MGM studio ‘fixer’ Eddie Mannix. Reeves and Toni engaged in a serious affair with each other but he ended up dumping her to be with Lemmon. This breakup apparently left Mannix feeling pretty devastated. One theory is that she had her husband ‘fix’ Reeves after she snuck into his room and put a bullet in his head. Her husband simply cleaned up the scene afterward. Although the power of the big studios was waning by the 1950s, it’s still possible that Eddie Mannix still garnered enough Hollywood influenced to have the truth buried.

There weren’t any clues pointing towards forced entry at Reeve’s house. Although any half-decent hitman could easily have gotten around that. Mannix also allegedly had ties to the mafia. It revealed in 1999 by Los Angeles publicist Edward Lozzi that Mannix had allegedly confessed to taking part in Reeves’ death in some capacity in front of him to a priest. Although this controversial allegation has been disputed by Jack Larson, one of Mannix’s close friends.

Another potential theory is that Lemmon was the one who shot Reeves. Reeves’ buddy Fred Crane heard from Milicent Trent who in turn heard it from William Bliss that Lemmon upstairs in Reeves’ bedroom when he was shot. According to that accounting of events, she came running downstairs yelling to her friends that they should tell the police that she was downstairs the whole time.

And remember those two other bullet holes that found in Reeves’ bedroom? Well, they only discovered after investigators pried up a carpet covering the floor where Reeves’ lifeless body was found. One of those bullets went through the floor and got lodged in the paneling of the living room downstairs while the other found in a ceiling beam. Further examination of those bullets confirmed that they both fired from the same Luger automatic pistol that Killed Reeves. But strangely only one empty cartridge recovered in the bedroom.

So he murdered or did he take his own life? Or even worse, did someone order a hit on him and all the evidence scrubbed before the cops showed up to investigate? All three theories explored in the film Hollywoodland. Join Facts Verse to know more the details about who killed the original superman , George Reeves.

He Was A Big ‘Teddybear’

Even though he had made a few enemies in the industry, a lot of people that knew him left with a sense of shock after his passing. He’s a gentle man in real life despite the fact that he known to be moody. But the primary reason why he’s depressed in the first place the fact that everyone thought of him as Superman and not as an actor.

And once the show no longer in production, he left feeling a lot like a lost puppy. But just like a puppy, everyone that knew him just wanted to cuddle and care for him.

On July 1st, 1959, a funeral service held for Reeves at the Wayside Chapel of the Gates Funeral Home in LA. Among those in attendance were Noel Neill, Don Defore, Gig Young, and Mrs. Dan Dailey. The Reverend R. Parker Jones of St. Albans Episcopal Church officiated the ceremony.

George was a devout Catholic but the church refused to officiate his funeral because back in those days. Suicide majorly frowned upon by the Vatican. So it really didn’t even matter that there was some uncertainty about the cause of his death. Because the official cause of death deemed to be suicide, the Church went by that ruling.

So yeah, according to the LA police department, Reeves’ death was an open-and-shut case of suicide. But according to others, they closed that investigation with a degree of haste that invites suspicion and continued questioning. The case has yet to ever reopened, but the doubts have never laid to rest with a satisfyingly convincing degree of certainty.

But as with the many eerily similar theories that swirled around the unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, there are just too many contradictory pieces of evidence to assemble a single coherent narrative of Reeves’ death.

Well, anyway, now’s your turn to let your voice be heard. Do you think that George Reeves was the victim of murder or do you believe the official story that he took his own life? Let us know what you think – and why – in the comments section below.

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