Jack Larson, the actor and playwright best remembered for his role as Jimmy Olsen on “The Adventures of Superman,” passed away Sunday at his home in Brentwood, California. He was 87.
Born in 1928 in Los Angeles, Larson made his film debut in 1948’s “Fighter Squadron.” Aspiring to become a Broadway actor and playwright, in 1951 he reluctantly accepted the role of Clark Kent’s eager young colleague on “The Adventures of Superman.” Larson feared becoming typecast, but according to The New York Times, his agent assured him the new series was having difficulty finding a sponsor and would probably never make it to air.
The show of course became a hit, and Larson’s initial agreement of 26 episodes ultimately grew to more than 100, as he played Jimmy from 1952 until the cancellation of “The Adventures of Superman” in 1958.
Following the end of the series, Larson gave up acting to pursue a successful career as a librettist, playwright and producer, the latter on films directed by his life partner James Bridges (“Perfect” and “Bright Lights, Big City” among them).
Larson did return to acting, however, often in roles related to Superman: on a 1991 episode of “Superboy”; a 1996 episode of “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” (playing an aged Jimmy Olsen); a 1998 American Express commercial with Jerry Seinfeld; and as a bartender in the 2006 film “Superman Returns.”
Larson was preceded in death in 1993 by Bridges, his partner of 35 years.
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