George Reeves’ Former HomeOct 17th, 2011 | By Lindsay | Category: Celebrity Homes
Another location that has long been woven into the fabric of Hollywood lore is George Reeves’ former Benedict Canyon bungalow, where in the early morning hours of June 16th, 1958 the Adventures of Superman star was found dead from a single gunshot wound to the head. The events surrounding his death have been the subject of much conjecture ever since. Did the 45-year-old actor commit suicide (as was the official finding), was his death accidental, or was he murdered by his vengeful ex-lover or her jealous husband? Conspiracy theories abound and Reeves’ death has remained the stuff of Hollywood legend for over five decades since. His passing even became the subject of the 2006 biographical docudrama Hollywoodland, in which Ben Affleck plays the Pasadena-bred television star. For whatever reason, though, in my ten-plus years of living in Los Angeles, I had yet to stalk the former Superman’s home. So I figured this was the perfect time to do so and dragged the Grim Cheaper right on out there last weekend.
George Reeve’s former residence is rather small, especially by Hollywood standards. The brown-shingled bungalow, which was built in 1947, boasts 2 bedrooms, 3 baths, and 1,717 square feet. It was purchased for the actor at a cost of $12,000 by his longtime lover, MGM Vice-President E.J. Mannix’s wife Toni Lanier, whom the actor had broken up with shorty before his death. Reeves’ new girlfriend, who had since moved in, was a New York socialite named Leonore Lemmon, with whom he was rumored to be engaged. On the night of June 15th, 1959, Reeves and Lemmon went out to dinner and the two reportedly drank a great deal. When they returned home, they continued to kick back the alcohol until around 12:30 p.m., at which point Reeves retired to his bedroom. Lemmon stayed awake and about thirty minutes later three friends dropped by for a visit. Shortly after their arrival, Reeves came downstairs to hang out with the group and then once again retired to his room at around 1:20. A few minutes later a shot was heard and the foursome ran upstairs. The actor was discovered laying face up on his bed, naked, with a single gunshot wound to his right temple and a .30 caliber Luger on the floor in between his lifeless feet. Television’s beloved Superman was dead at the tender age of 45. Reeves was dressed in one of his character’s Clark Kent suits for the funeral, which took place two weeks later, on June 30th, 1959. His body was later cremated and interred at the Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, which I blogged about during my Haunted Hollywood theme last year.
Reeves’ death was quickly ruled a suicide, but some facts of the case appear to be murky at best. For instance, Lemmon and her friends pulled a Conrad Murray by failing to call the police until about thirty minutes after discovering the body, and each seemed to have a differing account of the evening due to their inebriated states. Reeves himself was also severely under the influence, with a blood alcohol level of .27 and, because the actor had long enjoyed playing with unloaded weapons, it was thought possible he accidentally shot himself while doing so. It was also widely believed that Toni, to whom Reeves bequeathed his entire estate, may have shot him in a jealous rage after hearing news of his engagement, or that her husband, E.J. Mannix, who had ties to the mob, had him “whacked” due to the affair. Whatever the case may be, no charges were ever filed and Reeves’ death remains one of the most talked about Hollywood scandals to this day.
Amazingly, George Reeves shot part of a Kellogg’s Corn Flakes commercial (the cereal company was the sponsor of Adventures of Superman) inside of his actual Benedict Canyon home. The areas which appeared in the commercial include the den;
the master bedroom (where the actor died);
and the backyard. According to Jim Nolt’s fabulous Superman-themed The Adventures Continue website, the house has remained largely unchanged since the time Reeves lived there over fifty years ago.
You can watch George Reeves’ Kellogg’s Corn Flakes commercial by clicking above.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: George Reeves’ former home is located at 1579 Benedict Canyon Drive in Beverly Hills.