What Is the Superman Curse and Which Stars Have Fallen Victim to It?

Are certain roles off-limits for actors? If you believe in the curse of Superman, the answer is yes. The curse alleges that anyone who plays the historical part of Superman ends up suffering great tragedies after their run as the superhero ends. Career failures, catastrophic injuries, death, and personal strife seem to plague individuals who sign on to films focused on the hero from Krypton. Is the curse real, though?

George Reeves’ mystery death jumpstarted the curse theory

From 1951 to 1958 George Reeves played Superman in The Adventures of Superman. Television, still in its infancy, was small potatoes compared to the movie industry. Regardless, his iconic portrayal of the comic book hero made him a massive Hollywood name. Reeves also had an illustrious movie career before taking on the role of Superman. He appeared in over 40 films.

George Reeves
George Reeves as Superman | Photo by Hulton Archive/Courtesy of Getty Images

In June 1959, Reeves was found dead in an upstairs bedroom of his home. The Benedict Canyon house was modest by today’s standards, and Reeves was found in a windowless bedroom upstairs. His girlfriend was downstairs with other party revelers when they heard a gunshot, according to The Guardian.

While Reeves’ death was initially considered a suicide, many believe there is more to the story. Reeves’ death is regarded as the first in a long line of mysterious misfortunes that befell the actors who decided to take on the heroic role.

Christopher Reeve’s accident is linked to the Superman curse

Christopher Reeve rose to fame when he took on the role of Superman in the 1978 film of the same name. He reprised his role in 1980 in Superman II and again in 1983 and 1987 in Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

Christopher Reeve as Superman | Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures/Getty Images

All was going well in Reeve’s life until a freak accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. Reeve’s was riding his horse in an equestrian competition when the animal suddenly stopped short of a jump. Reeves was thrown over the front of the horse. Spectators alleged that Reeve’s hands became jumbled in the reigns, meaning the entire impact of the fall was placed on his head. According to The New York Times, he suffered multiple fractures of the first and second cervical vertebrae. The accident occurred in 1995.

Christopher and Dana Reeve
Christopher Reeve and Dana Reeve at the Roseland in New York City, New York (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Reeve’s died on October 10, 2004, at Northern Westchester Hospital in affluent Westchester County, New York. His cause of death was heart failure, associated with his catastrophic injury nearly a decade earlier. His wife, Dana Reeves, died two years later at the age of 44 from lung cancer.

Kate Bosworth allegedly thinks the curse is real

Kate Bosworth signed onto Superman Returns to play Lois Lane, Superman’s love interest. While all went well with the 2006 flick, Bosworth split from Orlando Bloom shortly after. While there were no physical injuries to the cast associated with the film, Bosworth allegedly blamed the curse for her romantic misfortune.

According to The Mirror, an anonymous source alleges that Bosworth blamed the film for her split. Allegedly, the couple had trouble maintaining their relationship during the media tour related to the film. Both stars were busy with major motion pictures, so it’s unlikely that the curse played into the end of their relationship. More likely, the couple suffered from the same issue many Hollywood couples do; a lack of time together.