People grieve celebrities’ deaths as much as they do their close neighbors’. It does sound like a strange phenomenon considering that the grieving ones may not know the deceased in person or real life, for that matter.

The thought that people mourn the loss of a person they never knew well enough can be pretty difficult to discern.

A good explanation is that celebrities affect people a great deal through their roles on screen, which is a lot of cases relate to the audience’s feelings, day-to-day activities, and general behaviors; in other words, celebrities are important figures in people’s lives.

Especially when the death is untimely, the sentimental tribute is often sprinkled with (sometimes plausible) conspiracy theories. 

The shocking death of TV’s Superman George Reeves in 1959 makes an acceptable reference to the conspiracy-laden grief among fans and even other celebrities.

The cause of death has officially ruled a suicide, but more than six decades later, there are still some lingering questions about the accuracy or truth of that ruling.

Although the explanation has been accepted by the general public all this time, a good number of people have their alternative versions of what happened.

10 /10 Adventures Of Superman

After minor success in the pre-WWII film industry, George Reeves enlisted in the Army Air Corps, where he was kept busy making training films.

Although Hollywood had not changed much by the time the war ended, George struggled to get fulfilling acting works.

Facing a divorce and financial difficulties, he moved to New York, at that time the center of the booming television industry.

Luck struck in June 1951 when he was offered the role of Superman in a feature film that would serve as the pilot for an upcoming TV series, Adventures of Superman.


9 /10 Toni Mannix

The TV series began airing the following year, and it became a significant success. He suddenly was a star, the status he had never been able to attain from the big screen.

Not long after Superman hit peak popularity, George found himself involved in an intimate relationship with Toni Mannix, the general manager of MGM E.J. Eddie Mannix.

In a 2006 film Hollywoodland, George and Toni met at a dinner party; it is likely how their story began in real life too. Toni seduced George not only with her body but also with money and a house.


8 /10 Typecast For Life

Adventures of Superman was possibly the most extensive series on TV throughout its run, but George worked for low pay even as the title character.

Every episode was shot on tight schedules; every six days, the production team delivered at least two shows. George was reportedly stunned when he realized his stardom status.

Superman would eventually air in more than 20 countries worldwide. His work on the series wrapped in 1957, and the show itself ended after the 1958 season. Superman would be the last role he played.

7 /10 Leonore Lemmon

George called off the long-running affair with Toni in 1958 and soon became engaged to another woman named Leonore Lemmon.

Not much is known about Leonore, except that she took part in the Café Society during her early years.

Café Society was just a nickname for pretty well-dressed people who had a habit of visiting fashionable cafes and restaurants in European and American big cities.

The moniker lost much of its relevance in the 1950s and aptly replaced with “jet setters” thanks to the proliferation of air travel. The new couple planned to get married on June 19, 1959.

Serhii Shcherbyna /

6 /10 Found Dead

In the early morning hours of June 16, police officers arrived at 1579 Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles. Inside the house, officers found some drunken people and a body on a bed.

It didn’t take long for the officers to identify the deceased as George Reeves. He was naked, and his blood was all over the bedsheets. A Luger was found between his feet.

A bullet fired from the gun went through his head and left a hole in the ceiling. The actor who made his name playing a bulletproof superhero on TV died of a gunshot.

5 /10 The Night Before

On the night of June 15, George was at the house with his fiancée and some neighbors, including William Bliss, a heating engineer who lived just down the road; Robert Condon, a visiting journalist who was having an affair with another neighbor also present in the house Carol Van Ronkel.

None of the houseguests knew each other very well. Robert was writing biography Archie Moore, a boxer scheduled to fight with George in a celebrity match later that year. Carol was there for him. However, the presence of William was never adequately explained.

4 /10 45 Minutes

When the police were notified about the incident, 45 minutes had passed since Leonore, and the guests claimed to have heard a gunshot from upstairs.

The coroner in charge of the official inquest was quick to rule it suicide – perhaps too short. The police reportedly treated the house, not as a crime scene where a careful collection of evidence and other clues could be carried out meticulously.

Soon after investigators left, Leonore returned to the house, grabbed a $4,000 traveler’s check, moved to New York, and never returned.


3 /10 Not Suicidal

Questions immediately arose after the suicide ruling. Police collected what was left of the evidence at the scene, leading to observations that suggested another possible cause of death: murder.

The first hint was the nature of George’s mood that day and throughout the time after the Adventures of Superman ended. Despite the cancellation in 1958, the series returned in 1960 with a bigger paycheck for him.

Let us not forget he was about to marry on June 19, three days before his death. On June 17, he was also scheduled to fight in a well-publicized celebrities’ boxing match.

2 /10 A Hit By Mob

Among the most plausible theories was death by assassination done on behalf of Toni Mannix.

After the breakup of their affair, Toni was turned into a sad, bitter, and particularly angry woman because George and Leonore were living in the same house that Toni bought for him.

During the investigation, Leonore told investigators about how Toni was harassing George with phone calls for months to the point where he sought legal advice on how to deal with them.

Blinded by her anger, Toni might have hired someone to kill George; again, this was plausible considering her husband’s ties with the mob.


1 /10 Milo Speriglio

George’s mother, Helen Bessolo, hired a high-profile private investigator Milo Speriglio to dig deeper into the case. For sure, he uncovered some significant inconsistencies between the official cause of death and the evidence.

Milo found no powder burns on the gunshot wound in the head, indicating that the gun was held far enough from the head, which was unusual in a suicide case.

There were also bruises on George’s body and no explanation for how they could have been there. As of now, the case is closed. It is not credible new evidence will warrant reopening it. That said, speculations persist.

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