Millions of children wept unashamedly when they learned SUPERMAN GEORGE REEVES committed suicide by blowing his brains out. Or DID he?
Newspapers, radios and TV all carried the shocking news on June 16, 1959 "Superman Slays Self!" as rumors spread that he had jumped out a window, thinking he could actually fly.
But "Superman didn't commit suicide, he was murdered!" Reeve's long time pal and business manager ARTHUR WEISSMAN told the ENQUIRER in an exclusive August 2, 1988 interview.
He was also convinced that three car accidents prior to Reeves' death were NO accident but failed attempts at silencing the handsome star who had been embroiled in a real life Fatal Attraction scenario with the spurned married wife of a Hollywood studio exec whom Reeves had had an affair with for years until he dumped her for a much younger fiancée.
"The police report would have you believe that while entertaining his fiancée (Lenore Lemon) and three friends in the house, George suddenly and with no explanation impulsively decided to commit suicide.
"The LAPD report said he simply went up to his bedroom, placed a pistol above his right ear and pulled the trigger."
Weissman says Reeves was playing one of his favorite practical jokes — firing a blank pistol to needlessly alarm party goers.
Weissman believed the blank bullet was replaced by a live round by either MGM tough guy exec EDDIE MANNIX or his 25 years younger sexbomb wife TONI who had been carrying on an affair with Reeves right under the nose of her powerful hubby.
"Their romance was an open Hollywood secret," Weissman divulged. "It continued for years but appeared to end when George became engaged to another woman in early 1959.
"Toni became enraged – – bombarding George with calls, all night long, threatening "I'll get even with you if it's the last thing I do!"
And Mannix, a proud man humiliated by his wife's flagrant affair, wanted revenge in the worst way possible.
Weissman suggests Toni had a key to George's hacienda and either Toni or Eddie could have easily substituted the bullet and wait for Reeves to play his favorite boozy practical joke.
With the lack of a suicide note, media played up the fact that Reeves was depressed over being type cast as Superman which was the farthest thing from the truth, Weissman revealed.
"The day before his death I negotiated a favorable contract for (another season of ) Superman productions and had talks with another producer who wanted him to direct and star in a film," Weissman told The ENQUIRER.
"George was ecstatic. "It's going to be a great year," he told me.
"But the very next day, June 16, 1959, Superman was dead."
Weissman, who was executor of Reeves' estate, told The ENQUIRER that Toni Mannix was named chief beneficiary.
"Twenty years later after George's death I visited Toni, now a recluse at her Beverly Hills home. We spent most of the time watching — at her insistence– reruns of George as Superman."