Mostly Credited As: George Reeves
Sometimes Credited As: Sgt. George Reeves
Birth Name: George Keefer Brewer
Date Of Birth: January 05, 1914 (Age 45)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: Woolstock, Iowa
Date Of Death: June 16, 1959
Cause Of Death: Suicide
Height: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
George Reeves was born George Keefer Brewer on January 5th 1914 to Don and Helen Brewer. Their marriage was short lived and young George traveled to California where in 1927 she met and married her second husband Frank Bessolo. After Frank legally adopted George the two raised him together, while living in Pasadena, California. George attended school at Pasadena Junior College where began to show an interest in acting and music, as well as boxing. His stage career took off after his acceptance into the Pasadena Playhouse where he often played leading roles. It was his work on that very stage that earned him his first big break, and his name change. In 1939 he was cast as one of the "Tarleton Twins" in Gone With The Wind opposite Vivien Leigh and billed for the first time on screen as George Reeves. Shortly after he married Ellanora Needles, a union that would last nine years. During this time he bounced around the studios picking up work at Warner Brothers, Paramount and Fox in roles opposite other rising stars like Ronald Regan and James Cagney.
After receiving critical acclaim for his starring role in 1942's So Proudly We Hail! George stepped away from Hollywood to serve his country during World War II. He served 17 months in the United States Army and later transferred to the U.S. Army Air Force. While there he appeared in the military stage production Winged Victory, continuing with its lengthy Broadway run. George also made military training films. After the war George returned to Hollywood just in time for a project that would seemingly both make and break him.
In 1951, after the success of two film serials starring Kirk Alyn, DC Comics began development of their iconic hero Superman as a television series. "Adventures of Superman" debuted in 1952 and skyrocketed Reeves into the public eye once more. For all the fame though, George felt the role was typecasting him and he indeed had difficulty finding other roles. He attempted to launch a television project of his own, Port Of Entry, that was never made and his part in the film From Here To Eternity ended up on the cutting room floor. Sadly on June 16th, 1959, George Reeves died of a gunshot wound to the head at the age of 45. His death, though ruled a suicide, is still surrounded by controversy and some believe it was in fact that he was murdered wither by Toni Mannix, wife of MGM boss Eddie Mannix, whom he'd recently ended a long affair with or his fiance at the time, Lenore Lemmon.