For years, rumors have swirled that the role of Superman is unfortunate, but could there be a lot more to the so-called Superman movie curse than meets the eye. Superman is undoubtedly one of the most iconic heroes of all time and a staple of pop culture, and since the character’s inception in 1938, he’s appeared in almost every medium imaginable. As such, Superman has been portrayed in different ways by a number of different actors.
The Curse of Superman is the name given to a series of misfortunes otherwise unrelated to the various actors involved in the role. Of the many live-action Superman cast, a number of them have been involved in tragic accidents and others have suffered from various professional and personal issues. The attachment of the actors to the role of Superman is one of the only common points between the alleged victims of the curse.
This supposed connection between various Superman actors and their mysterious or tragic circumstances after taking on the role is often attributed to the Superman Curse. Although it may seem foolhardy to explain events through the supernatural, there are a large number of supposed victims. There may also be exceptions to the idea of Superman’s curse, but there are enough victims to warrant further examination of the idea behind it. Here’s the truth about the famous Superman movie curse and how it affected those associated with it.
How Superman’s Curse Affected Kirk Alyn
Kirk Alyn was the first actor to play Superman in live-action, making him one of the first rumored victims of the curse. After appearing on a number of 1940s soap operas as Superman, Alyn struggled to find other work and was relegated to small voice roles and uncredited screen roles. The only other notable role Alyn got was as Lois Lane’s father in 1978. Superman, and he died in 1999 in relative obscurity.
How Superman’s Curse Affected Lee Quigley
One of the most tragic victims of Superman’s curse, Lee Quigley portrayed the infant Kal-El in the 1978s Superman. Quigley died aged just 14 from solvent abuse, making him the youngest alleged victim of the curse. He may have only played the younger version of Superman, but his untimely passing is one of the greatest tragedies attributed to the curse.
How Superman’s Curse Affected George Reeves
One of the most mysterious deaths in Old Hollywood is that of George Reeves, the actor who played Superman in the 1951 film. Superman and the mole men and the following series The Adventures of Superman. Like other actors, Reeves struggled to find other work after taking on the iconic role. However, how the Superman curse seemingly affected Reeves ended more than just his career.
Just days before his wedding, Reeves was found dead at his home. His death was ruled a suicide, but Reeves’ fingerprints were missing from the gun that killed him, sparking widespread speculation about the truth behind his passing. Reeves’ suspicious death often forms the basis of the theory behind the Superman Curse. Reeves’ story was told in the film Hollywoodlandportrayed by future Batman Ben Affleck.
How Superman’s Curse Affected Christopher Reeve
By far the most publicized victim of the alleged curse, Christopher Reeve starred in 1978 Superman. He reprized the role for three sequels, making him one of the most recognizable faces of the Man of Tomorrow, setting a bar by which all other Superman actors are judged. However, in 1995 tragedy struck Reeves and changed his life forever.
In a riding accident, Reeves was thrown from his horse and paralyzed from the neck down. This irreparably altered the trajectory of Reeve’s career, and he rarely acted thereafter, instead focusing his energy on supporting spinal cord injury research. Reeves died in 2004 at the age of 52.
How The Curse Affected Other Superman Actors
Other Superman actors are also believed to be victims of the Superman Curse, including Dean Cain, Brandon Routh, and Tom Welling (who starred in Smallville, a Superman origin story that prevented the actor from fully becoming the Man of Steel). Although these actors did not meet a tragic fate, their careers came to a halt after taking on the role of Superman, which many consider another aspect of the power of the curse.
Dean Cain has spent the years since Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman better known for his outspoken right-wing political views than his acting, and Brandon Routh and Tom Welling simply struggled to land other major roles. This is especially odd when considered in relation to the actors’ respective popular turns as an iconic character, which is thought to be part of Superman’s curse. In fact, in the years since taking on the character, every actor’s most prominent role has been related in some way to Superman: Dean Cain starred in both Smallville and the Arrowverse super girland Welling and Routh appeared as part of Arrowverse’s Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover.
Superman secondary characters
In addition to the actors who portrayed Superman himself, those who appeared as some of his supporting characters are also sometimes seen as victims of Superman’s curse. Chief among them is Marlon Brando, who played Superman’s Kryptonian father Jor-el back in 1978. Superman, and Allison Mack, who played Chloe Sullivan on Smallville. Brando’s personal life has been fraught with pitfalls and tragedies, including his son’s involvement in a shooting and his daughter’s suicide. These personal issues led to Brando’s loneliness later in life, and the actor died just three months before Christopher Reeve in 2004.
Allison Mack is believed to be another type of victim of Superman’s curse. Mack played the lead role of Chloe Sullivan in Smallville for ten seasons, although after her work on the series she became involved in the NXIVM sex cult. His involvement with NXIVM led to criminal activity and subsequent imprisonment, with Mack pleading guilty to racketeering charges.
What Caused Superman’s Curse?
The idea behind Superman’s curse stems from the recurrence of certain misfortunes. Although there have been tragic accidents and suspicious deaths, most victims of the curse seem to suffer the most from a very specific form of typing after playing the part. This most likely stems from the iconic nature of the role of Superman and the instant recognition actors gain by taking on the role.
There are obvious exceptions to the curse: Henry Cavill, in particular, seems to be forging a varied career, proving that not all Superman movies are doomed to be typecast like other victims of the Superman Curse. The idea that the role is cursed might seem far-fetched, especially at a glance. But the amount of misfortune and tragedy that surrounds the Superman cast’s past is certainly sobering, leading many to believe that the Superman the curse is very real.
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