Sunday, January 05, 2014

George Reeves' 100th Birthday

"Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!"

George Reeves, who was probably best known as TV's Superman, was born on this day 100 years ago.

The first glimpse that most people got of him was 75 years ago in "Gone With the Wind." He was one of the Tarleton twins seen early in the movie flirting with Scarlett.

Before he landed his career–defining role as Superman, Reeves appeared in several B movies, co–starring in a few with Ronald Reagan and James Cagney. The Superman role led to some other movie roles as well. In general, I guess you could say the '50s were good years for Reeves.

At least, until the last one.

In the early morning hours of June 16, 1959, Reeves died of a gunshot wound to his head. Initially believed to be a suicide, many people refused to accept that Reeves would take his own life; thus, the truth about Reeves' death remains shrouded in mystery more than half a century later.

Coincidentally, one of Reeves' last remaining co–stars from "Gone With the Wind," Alicia Rhett, died yesterday at the age of 98 in Charleston, S.C. Rhett played India Wilkes, the sister of Scarlett's love interest, Ashley Wilkes.

The 75th anniversary of the release of "Gone With the Wind" is coming up later this year.

If your only exposure to Reeves has been in his role as Superman or even "Gone With the Wind," you might want to look at Turner Classic Movies today. Four of his pre–Superman movies will be shown, starting at 9 a.m. (Central).