Jack Larson, The Lovable Cub Reporter ‘Jimmy Olsen’ On First Ever Superman TV Show, Dies At 87
Jack Larson, who was iconized for his role as the lovable cub reporter on the first ever Superman TV show, died at the age of 87.
Larson, who appeared on Adventures of Superman at the age of 23, died at his home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, confirmed longtime friend Alan Howard. Though he produced several films written and many-a-times directed by his companion, the late Oscar nominee James Bridges, he was forever known as the overenthusiastic cub reporter who always got into trouble at the Daily Planet, only to be rescued by Superman’s alter ego, Clark, played by George Reeves.
Larson originally signed up to appear as Jimmy Olsen in 1951. While many doubted the success of Adventures of Superman, the pay was $250 per episode, a handsome fee for the time, reported MSN. As it was the first TV show ever to feature the Man of Steel, an imaginary superhero from a distant planet in a distant galaxy who possessed superhuman strength and was overly protective of a single American city and was head-over-heals in love with another reporter who worked with him at the Daily Planet, no one knew how the TV show would fare.
Jack Larson, who was keenly interested to pursue his career in Broadway rather than risk it with a TV show, one of the few that were filmed and not done live, was persuaded by his agent, revealed the actor.
“The casting man and my agent talked to me very seriously about doing this. They said, ‘Look, you’re a very mixed-up kid, do this. It’s 26 shows, it’s a season’s work, and you’ll have enough money to go to New York. It’s probably like doing a Saturday morning serial. No one will ever see it. Take the money and run.”
As promised, Jack Larson completed his commitment and bolted, not realizing just how popular the show had gotten, reported the New York Times. Larson realized the downside of instant stardom as mobs hounded him wherever he went. He even had to be rescued from a pack of kids.
“My life had turned upside down and this was not a good experience.”
Jack Larson refused to participate in the publicity for the show, futilely hoping it would all slowly fade away if he had nothing to do with it.
“I wouldn’t do a magazine interview, I wouldn’t do anything, because I thought everything I do as Jimmy Olsen publicity is just a further nail in my coffin as an actor.”
Larson eventually ended up playing Jimmy Olsen for six seasons. Though he may have gained success from Superman, he did indicate having regrets about being typecast, which prevented him from playing any other roles.
[Image Credit | Jeff Kravitz, ABC Photo Archives / Getty Images]