Hollywood Kryptonite: The Bulldog, the Lady, and the Death of Superman

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9780312146160: Hollywood Kryptonite: The Bulldog, the Lady, and the Death of Superman

Examines the evidence left by the late Hollywood writer and MGM executive Sam Myer concerning the death of George Reeves, and concludes that the first Superman was murdered by a man named Eddie Mannix

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Review:

George Reeves was the first television Superman. He championed "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" in the 1950s and was such a popular hero that as many as 20,000 children would show up at his personal appearances. In his private life, though, he was a sad man. Frustrated by chronic poverty, in part because his film prospects didn't pan out, he became the "kept man" of an older lover, the wife of a powerful MGM executive. When he died just two years after filming the last episode of The Adventures of Superman, the Los Angeles police called it suicide, but many questions were left unanswered. As mystery author James Crumley writes, "The characters leap off the page like the television Superman in his padded suit. When the mystery is finally revealed, George Reeves, in his tragic death, approaches heroic stature in a way he never did in life."

From Publishers Weekly:

When George Reeves, who had achieved international fame by playing Superman for five years on TV, was found dead by gunshot in 1959, the death was officially recorded as a suicide. According to Kashner and Schoenberger (A Talent for Genius), however, unanswered details about Reeves's demise shroud what in truth was foul play. In this page-turning hybrid of bio and murder mystery, the authors entertainingly pick at the loose ends and point their pens at a killer. Reeves, they show, was hardly as wholesome as his TV image implied. His life was filled with hard-drinking men, manipulative women, mafiosos and a career that plummeted like a comet after The Adventures of Superman went off the air. The authors set down this B movie-style tale with hard-boiled relish. They introduce archetypal sleazebag characters with an entertaining terseness?"Eddie was a tough guy with a heart of tungsten"; "Leonore Lemmon wore the reddest lipstick in New York"?that occasionally veers into cheap Hammett imitations. The well-articulated backdrop of low-budget TV production only enhances the cheesy milieu, however. By laying out Reeves's life before solving the mystery of his death, the authors present the equivalent of a crisp black-and-white TV docudrama, and manage to evoke all the irresistibly creepy nostalgia of a bygone era. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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