Brown - Dark
Brown - Dark
Place of Death
Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of Death
Apparent suicide (died of a gunshot wound to the head)
Claim to Fame
Television's first Superman
Profile Bio Text
Reeves was born George Keefer Brewer in Woolstock, Iowa, the son of Don Brewer and Helen Lescher. (His death certificate erroneously lists his birthplace as Kentucky.) George was born five months into their marriage. They separated soon afterward, and Helen moved back home to Galesburg, Illinois.
Later, George`s mother moved to California to stay with her sister. There Helen met and married Frank Bessolo. George`s father married Helen Schultz in 1925 and had children with her. Don Brewer made no attempt to see his son George again.
In 1927, Frank Bessolo adopted George as his own son, and the boy took on his new stepfather`s last name to become George Bessolo. Helen`s marriage to Frank lasted fifteen years and ended in divorce while George was away visiting relatives. Helen told George that Frank had committed suicide. Reeves`s cousin, Catherine Chase, told biographer Jim Beaver that George did not know for several years that Bessolo was still alive nor that he had been his stepfather and not his birth father.
George began acting and singing in high school and continued performing on stage as a student at Pasadena Junior College. He also boxed as a heavyweight in amateur matches until his mother Helen ordered him to stop, fearing his good looks might be damaged. Accepted by the Pasadena Playhouse, Reeves had prominent roles. His film career began in 1939 when he was cast as Stuart Tarleton (although incorrectly listed as Brent Tarleton), one of Vivien Leigh`s suitors in Gone with the Wind. It was a minor role, but he and Fred Crane, both in dyed bright red hair as "the Tarleton Twins," were in the film`s opening scenes. He was contracted to Warner Bros. at the time, and the actor`s professional name became "George Reeves" and his GWTW screen credit reflects the change. He married actress Ellanora Needles in 1940, but had no children with her during their nine-year marriage.
He starred in a number of two-reel short subjects and appeared in several B-pictures, including two with Ronald Reagan and three with James Cagney (Torrid Zone, The Fighting 69th, and The Strawberry Blonde). Warners loaned him to producer Alexander Korda to co-star with Merle Oberon in Lydia, a box-office failure. Released from his Warners contract, he signed a contract at Twentieth Century-Fox but was released after only a handful of films. He freelanced, appearing in five Hopalong Cassidy westerns before director Mark Sandrich cast Reeves as Lieutenant John Summers opposite Claudette Colbert in So Proudly We Hail! (1942), a war drama for Paramount Pictures. He won critical acclaim for the role and garnered considerable publicity.
Reeves was drafted into the U.S. Army 17 months after Pearl Harbor.; In late 1943, he was transferred to the U.S. Army Air Forces and assigned to the Broadway show Winged Victory, produced by and for the Army Air Forces. A long Broadway run followed, as well as a national tour and a movie version of the play. Reeves was later transferred to the Army Air Forces` First Motion Picture Unit, where he made training films. He looked forward to working with his So Proudly We Hail! director Mark Sandrich again. Sandrich apparently felt that Reeves had the potential to become a major star; however, Sandrich died while Reeves was still in uniform. In later years, Reeves would ruefully recall the impact Sandrich`s death had on his career.
When Reeves returned for more film work, many movie studios were slowing down their production schedules, while many production units had been shut down completely. He took work where he could, including a pair of outdoor thrillers with Ralph Byrd, and a Sam Katzman-produced serial, The Adventures of Sir Galahad. These postwar pictures were not star vehicles; Reeves simply fit the rugged requirements of the roles and, with his retentive memory for dialogue, he could function well under rushed production conditions. In addition, he was able to play against type and starred as a villainous gold hunter in a Johnny Weismuller Jungle Jim film, which for a B-movie was an average success at the box office.
In the autumn of 1949, Reeves (whose divorce had recently become final) decided on a change and moved to New York City. While there, he performed on several live television anthology programs, as well as on radio. Reeves returned to Hollywood on April 10, 1951, specifically for a role in a Fritz Lang film, Rancho Notorious. Meanwhile, DC Comics was planning an adaptation of its most famous character.
In June 1951, Reeves was offered the role of Superman in a television series. He was initially reluctant to take the role because, like many actors of his time, he considered television to be unimportant and believed that few would see his work. He worked for low pay, even as the star, and was only paid during the weeks of production. The half-hour films were shot on tight schedules: at least two shows every six days. According to v
Pasadena Junior College
Full Name at Birth
George Keefer Brewer
Actor/Actress, Director, Soundtrack
Has Detailed Data (New)
George Reeves (January 5, 1914 – June 16, 1959) was an American actor. He is best-known for his role as Superman in the 1950s television program Adventures of Superman.
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