The Truth About The Superman Curse

Superman is DC’s golden boy. The Man of Steel first appeared in Action Comics #1 in 1938 and has since gone on to inspire several TV shows, cartoons, and movies, some better than others. He’s the pretty boy. The upstanding savior of Metropolis and, you know, the whole world, from time to time.

Before he was Clark Kent, Superman was Kal-El from the planet Krypton. He was sent to Earth as a baby because his home planet was about to be destroyed. The alien hero has faced plenty of hardships, but within DC, Superman is virtually a true immortal. Even when he dies, he finds a way back to life. He has one real weakness: kryptonite. The fabled mineral has several different effects on Superman, depending on what form the element takes, but it’s his weakness nonetheless.

The human actors who’ve played the comic book protagonist on screen haven’t proven quite as hardy. They’re only human, after all, and several of them have passed tragically from this world. There’s even a Hollywood legend surrounding their deaths: the Superman curse. Nobody can be certain how the curse came about, but we assume there’s a wizard in the DC basement who either hates Superman or loves him just a little too much. The curse seems to say, “if you play The Man of Steel on screen, you’ll die.” Granted, these actors would die anyway, but the “curse” tends to take them before their time.

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's a deadly curse!

Perhaps it all started with the 1950s TV series The Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves. Reeves died at the age of 44, and the circumstances surrounding his death are questionable to this day. Officially, he died from suicide, but as the Guardian Liberty Voice reports, many believe he was actually murdered. Following Reeves was Lee Quigley, who played played baby Kal-El in the 1978 film Superman. Quigley died at the age of 14 from abusing solvents, according to Alchetron. Bud Collyer, who was the voice actor for Superman in two different animated TV series, movie cartoons, and on radio, passed at 61 after developing a rare circulatory disease. The most famous Clark Kent, and perhaps best-known tragedy, was Christopher Reeve, who became paralyzed in a horseback riding mishap in 1995 and died less than 10 years later of cardiac arrest at the age of 52, according to Biography.

You might not believe in curses, but Supermen should probably be a little extra cautious. At best, the Superman curse is coincidental bad luck. At worst, the curse is real. Might Henry Cavill or Tom Welling be next?

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