The Mysterious Death of Superman

George Reeves died and the case was ruled a suicide, despite evidence to the contrary.

The Mysterious Death of Superman

Kryptonite is the only weakness that Superman has. Sadly, the same could not be said for the first man to portray him on TV, George Reeves. While he was beloved for the iconic role, there were many secrets that the former Man of Steel kept from the adoring public that came to light after his mysterious death. Once they did, the belief that there was a conspiracy to get rid of any investigation into his death became almost undeniable. One of those things was that his body was found naked, sprawled across his bed. A bullet had gone through his skull and lodged itself in the ceiling, and two more were located in the floor. That led to the belief that George Reeves was murdered.

Superman: Love and Hate

Reeves was said to have grown frustrated that his most iconic role would also be the one that would effectively end his career. After appearing in classic movies like Gone With The Wind and From Here To Eternity, Reeves thought that he would have a big film career. Taking on the role of Man of Steel derailed that, much to his chagrin.

Yet, while he was unhappy that producers only saw him as the sexy superhero type, Reeves truly loved playing Clark Kent. In 1958, after years of steadily declining ratings, the show was put on an indefinite hiatus. It was a nice way of saying canceled, without tarnishing the Superman brand. The sudden unemployment sent Reeves on a downward spiral. He was drinking heavily (allegedly) and gaining weight. The only gigs he was able to book were commercials and celebrity boxing matches. At 45, he had peaked.

This helped build the case that Reeves took his own life. Friends and loved ones who were interviewed at the time of his death were shocked to be told that he took his own life, but many also said there signs that this outcome was inevitable. Police used those statements as gospel and ruled his death a suicide, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The Mannix Affair

At some point at the height of his Superman fame, George Reeves had begun having an affair with Toni Mannix. Under normal circumstances, this would not lead one to believe that a man would be killed. People fall in and out of love all the time. However, back in the 1950s, it was a huge scandal when a wife cheated on her husband, especially when said husband wielded as much power as Eddie Mannix, Toni's husband.

While the general public would learn of the affair only after Reeves' body was found in his bedroom, most of Hollywood knew what was happening. That included Mr. Mannix, who at the time was the Head Honcho over at MGM. There are rumors that he was the one who had Reeves blacklisted from getting more work. But could Eddie have gone further and killed his romantic rival?

Eddie certainly had the money and clout to get away with the murder. In fact, he had a motive—Reeves was banging his wife. It was a humiliation a man in Eddie's position was not used to suffering. Since Reeves' death was not investigated, no one is certain if Eddie had an alibi for the night of the murder or not.

Maybe his wife, Toni, would provide one, in exchange for him providing an alibi for her too. In most of the theories that float around about this case, Toni is at the center of the plot. As most suggest, she was upset when Reeves pulled the plug on their illicit romance because she had planned on marrying him after Eddie died. To add to her distress about the breakup, Reeves was soon dating and engaged to another woman, Lenore Lemmon. A slap in the face. While nudity isn't always an indication of sexual relations, there is a heavy implication that Reeves was not alone before he died. Maybe some ex sex before murder?

Or was the cuckold fiancee to blame?

The Other Woman

Lenore Lemmon is a mysterious figure in this story. While a lot of ink has been splashed across various publication extolling the theories of the writer, very little is said about this woman. The most consistent thing mentioned is that she had a few friends over the night of the murder and that she waited for more than an hour after hearing gunshots to call the police. Maybe the cocktail she was enjoying was too good to put down?

Or perhaps there is a reason why she waited for so long. She wanted to make sure Reeves was dead, and there was no way to trace his death back to her. It is not hard to believe that she was upset about him not working as much and that he had an affair with another woman. Having friends over for the night gave her an alibi. It adds up to the perfect crime.

When the fact that Reeves allegedly came downstairs to yell at the party to keep it quiet, and Lenore argued with him, a new picture emerges. One that is painted with an angry and jealous woman, who was sick of waiting for her man to bring home the thick slices of peppered bacon that she had assumed would be part of her everyday feast.

Why is Lenore the most overlooked and yet obvious suspect? It's another of this mystery's many threads that will never be sewed up since every person involved in this sordid plot is dead.

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Edward Anderson
Edward Anderson
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