A look back at men who have donned the red cape as “Man of Steel” nears
Many mere mortals have donned the “Superman” costume in movies and television since Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created the character in 1938. Henry Cavill (above) is the latest, starring in “Man of Steel,” opening Friday. Forbes estimates the new “Man of Steel” could earn $100 million on opening weekend. More about the new movie will appear in Friday’s Weekend Look edition of The Oklahoman. But what about past Supermen? While some went on to enjoy solid careers after being “more powerful than a locomotive,” most will be remembered for being Kal-El, son of Jor-El. Here are some of them:
Kirk Alyn was chosen by Columbia to be the first on-screen Man of Steel. Alyn was 37 when selected for the role in the 1948 serial, which he reprised in a second serial, “Atom Man vs. Superman,” in 1950. Alyn also appeared as the DC Comics character “Blackhawk” in the last serial released by a major studio. In “Superman: The Movie,” he had a cameo as Lois Lane’s father. He died in 1999 at age 88.
George Reeves was born in Iowa and raised in Pasadena, Calif. He was an amateur boxer and musician and appeared in “Gone With the Wind” in 1939. He later enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II and appeared in war training films before going on to star on television in “The Adventures of Superman” from 1952-58. On June 16, 1959, at age 45, he was found shot to death at his home in Hollywood, Calif. While it was reported as a suicide, some believe it was an accident or foul play. Reeves’ death is the subject of a film, “Hollywoodland,” starring Ben Affleck.